Delegation of the European Union to Cambodia

EU offers Koreas guidance on a pathway to peace

Seoul, 14/08/2018 - 09:28, UNIQUE ID: 180814_1
News clippings - in the press

The High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice President of the European Commission, Ms Federica Mogherini explained to the Korean newspapers Korea JoongAng Daily and JoongAng Ilbo that the European Union is ready to offer the RoK and DPRK its experience & expertise in denuclearisation and reconciliation and fully supports Korea's efforts to promote peace and security on the Korean peninsula. Link to the article:

"Denuclearisation is not an issue between the U.S. and the DPRK, it is a global issue" says EU foreign policy chief Mogherini

"We are witnessing the beginning of the denuclearisation process," said Federica Mogherini, High Representative of the European Union (EU) for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. "Pursuing the diplomatic track is often challenging, but it is always rewarding."

Regarding the possibility of the U.S. President Donald Trump diverge to a tougher stance towards the DPRK, should there be no adequate progress until the mid-November elections, the HRVP Mogherini said in her exclusive interview with JoongAng Ilbo ahead of her visit to Korea on 5 August, "the denuclearisation of the Peninsula is not a bilateral issue between the U.S. and the DPRK. South Korea in particular, but also Japan, China, Russia, as well as the EU and the United Nations (UN) also have an important role to play." She added that "as the EU's objective is the complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearisation (CVID) of the Korean Peninsula, it is important that the international community moves steadily towards achieving that goal."

With the influx of refugees from Yemen into Korea's Jeju Island and the controversy regarding the acceptance of refugees, the High Representative said "each situation is different and requires a particular approach, devised by those who understand it best, in full respect of international law and human rights," but continued that "we need to avoid treating migrants or refugees as a number and a burden."

Mogherini added "the free trade agreement (FTA) between the EU and the Republic of Korea needs modernising and updating if it is to bring as many benefits as we would like it to." The following are the questions and answers.

Q. North Korea accuses the U.S. of persistently demanding denuclearisation without giving anything in return. Have you discussed the timeline or process of the North's denuclearisation in your recent talks with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo?

A. "It is only natural that in negotiations there are different objectives and different offers put on the table. We have seven Member States with embassies in Pyongyang that keep in contact with North Korean authorities. Secretary Pompeo knows that the European Union has a long-standing experience in peace-building, reconciliation and specifically in successful negotiations for denuclearisation. We are ready to put all of this expertise at the disposal of the diplomatic processes that are ongoing."

Q. How would the EU evaluate the current progress of reconciliation on the Korean Peninsula?

A. "It shouldn't be forgotten that the pressure on the DPRK regime to change its course has been building for a number of years now, thanks to the unified action of the international community and the United Nations Security Council in particular. We have always insisted and continue to insist on the need to have complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearisation before the lifting of sanctions. President Moon has played in making peace on the Peninsula a genuine possibility. Using the opportunity of the Olympics to have the two Koreas represented under a unified flag and the two summit meetings sent a message to the world that 'this time, things might be different.'"

Q. U.S. President Trump would even portray the EU as an adversary, if it is in conflict with American interests. Do you think the international order is now at a time of fundamentally changing? 

A. "I think that we have a great deal more to gain from strengthening the international rules-based system rather than destroying it. Europe learnt a painful lesson over many centuries: choose multilateralism over unilateralism. We consider the United States as a close friend and partner. The EU, now more so than ever, is looking to Asia as a natural source of partnership. The EU has many friends and partners who are also interested in building a stronger international system together."

Q.  How will the EU's provisional safeguard measures on imports of steel products affect South Korean steel makers?

A. "The measure was put in place as a result of the recently imposed US tariffs, but the EU will continue importing without any extra tariffs the same amounts of steel it has done in the past few years. The new duties will only apply to extra imports going beyond that level. It does not specifically target any of our partners, including Korea."

Q. Political parties of the EU Member States that followed the EU's refugee policy are struggling with elections and the Italian government has refused to accept refugee rescue ships. Did the EU's refugee policy fail?

A. "In the Mediterranean, for example, since 2015, EU naval operations contributed to saving thousands of people. We saved more than 30,000 migrants from detention centres in Libya: those with the right to international protection travelled safely to Europe, and we helped the others go back home with the economic support to start a new life. Our approach is already making a difference: the numbers show that there are, more or less, 80% fewer migrants arriving to the European Union this year than last. We must now continue to invest in this approach and build on it: move forward, not backwards."

Q. As a woman who has reached the top of the EU diplomacy position, have you ever experienced 'glass ceiling'? Do you have any words for young women who want to enter the professional society?

A. "There were some people who were suspicious about the combination of me being young and a woman. I find that it is often the women in the room - often a very small percentage unfortunately - who are the first ones to seek solutions, to show resilience in times of challenge, and to have vision. Together with Chrystia Freeland, the Canadian Foreign Minister, we will this September co-chair a Women's Foreign Ministers' meeting to focus on a number of pressing global issues, to share our experience and build on each other's results in advancing women's participation and leadership. We need to tell every girl, every young woman: work hard, trust yourself and your abilities, do not give up and do not listen to those who try to stand in your way. And above all, believe in change: the world of tomorrow begins today and needs your leadership."

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