Foreign Minister Yu Myung-hwan, left, shakes hands with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton before a meeting in Washington, Saturday to discuss issues including North Korea’s nuclear test and missile launches last month.
By Kim Sue-young
South Korea and the United States agreed Saturday to take joint action to cope with North Korea's nuclear and missile threats.
The two allies agreed that a guarantee of security for the Korean Peninsula was needed during the South Korea-U.S. summit scheduled for June 16 in Washington, Foreign Minister Yu Myung-hwan said Saturday.
``Considering North Korea's nuclear test and missile launches as issues relevant to the South Korea-U.S. alliance, we agreed to take joint action and we also fine-tuned issues to be discussed during the upcoming summit,'' he told reporters after meeting with his U.S. counterpart Hillary Clinton.
Yu and Clinton agreed on the need for an ``extended deterrence,'' which will protect South Korea under the U.S. nuclear umbrella and with conventional weapons in times of emergency.
The written guarantee will be the first of its kind by a U.S. President if Presidents Barack Obama and Lee Myung-bak confirm it during their talks.
In regards to the United Nations yet-to-be-determined sanctions on the secretive state, Yu stressed that he and Clinton agreed to have details released as early as this week.
``The important thing is how to effectively put a strain on North Korea's cash flow to deter it from developing its nuclear and missile programs,'' the minister said.
Pyongyang conducted its second underground nuclear test in two and a half years on May 25 and has heightened tensions on the Korean Peninsula by test-firing short-range missiles.
According to reports, the U.N. Security Council is close to drawing up sanctions which may allow it to intercept and search North Korean vessels.
Despite the international condemnation, Seoul reaffirmed Sunday that it will continue to run the inter-Korean industrial complex in Gaeseong, North Korea.
``Humanitarian and other normal trade should be ruled out of U.N. sanctions,'' a government source said on condition of anonymity. ``The government is firm in its position to operate the industrial park.''
Minister Yu also discussed North Korea's succession issue with Clinton but refused to confirm that North Korean leader Kim Jong-il has appointed his third son, Jong-un, as his heir.
``It is too early to unveil since it's confidential,'' he said.
South Korea's intelligence agency and news reports have said the junior Kim will become the next leader of the secretive state.
Kim Jong-il's eldest son, Jong-nam, also indicated that his brother might be the successor, saying his father likes ``his youngest son very much.''