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Pres. Lee Stressed “Balanced Diplomacy”

Posted May. 30, 2008 03:01,   


President Lee Myung-bak said yesterday, “Considering the balance in Northeast Asia, it is not desirable that Korea sides with a particular country. To maintain peace in the region, a balanced diplomacy is needed.”

Lee made the comment when asked what impact the strengthened Korea-U.S. alliance would have on Korea-China relations, during a meeting with Korean correspondents at Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing on the third day of his state visit to China.

The president also stressed, “The Korea-U.S. relations and Korea-China relations are not contrary to each other but mutually complementary.” He also added. “For a trilateral cooperation among Korea, China and Japan, the three countries’ leaders and foreign affairs ministers will meet in Japan in September.”

He also said, “By the end of next year, the effect of practical diplomacy will begin to emerge, including the improvement in Korea-Japan trade imbalance.” He explained, “As a country that generates more than 70 percent of its wealth from trade, entering overseas markets is a matter of survival for Korea. Korea needs a research institute that can accurately analyze the Chinese market.”

Meanwhile, Lee is planning to visit China’s earthquake-devastated Sichuan Province before coming back to Korea on May 30 to offer his words of consolation for those who suffered a great loss.

The president will tour the major damaged districts of the province and express his will to actively help China overcome the disaster. His visit to the area was decided during his summit talk with Chinese President Hu Jintao on May 27.

Lee Dong-kwan, spokesman for the presidential office, said yesterday, “President Lee expressed his will to participate in the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics and visit the damaged areas at the summit, saying, ‘Friends share good and bad things.’” President Hu expressed his gratitude to the offer and said he would instruct preparations.

The spokesman said, “The visit symbolizes that the bilateral relations have been elevated to a strategic cooperative partnership. It is expected to contribute significantly to deepening good will and trust between the governments and people of the two countries.”

With the scheduled visit to Sichuan, President Lee will become the first foreign head of state visiting the disaster area. Officials at the presidential office said that the president intends to show his sincerity with his “action” that befitting the two countries’ “strategic cooperative partnership.”

orionha@donga.com swpark@donga.com