Posted : 2013-12-06 18:04
Updated : 2013-12-06 18:04

Biden tells NK to drop nuke programs

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden delivers a speech at Yonsei University in Seoul, Friday. It was the first time that a U.S. vice president made a speech on policies in Korea. / Yonhap

By Nam Hyun-woo

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden on Friday sent a strong message to North Korea to drop its nuclear program, saying that the U.S. won't accept a permanent division of the two Koreas.

"The U.S. will not tolerate or accept nuclear-armed North Korea," Biden said during a speech at Yonsei University in Seoul. He said that North Korea should know that it cannot pursue prosperity unless it abandons its nuclear program.

During the speech he stressed, "There is one issue that many countries agree with. North Korea's nuclear program is a clear and present danger… Let there be no doubt, the U.S. is committed to do anything what it takes to defend our allies and ourselves against North Korean aggression."

He also warned that the reclusive regime cannot pursue prosperity unless it abandons such a weapons program.

Biden addressed variety of issues, including the significance of Korea-U.S. partnership, improvement of Korea-Japan relations and economic growth.

"The entire region will be more stable and more secure if the leading democracies -- Japan, South Korea and the United States -- are able to improve their relations and cooperation with one another," he said. He called for better relations between Korea and Japan to improve stability in the North East Asian region.

Biden said that Korea and the U.S. have shared a "journey," which was successful and prosperous due to "our parents' sacrifice," during the past 60 years.

"It's a fact, we, the U.S., could not have any better partner than South Korea to share that journey," he said.

Biden also appraised Korea's recent decision to join a U.S.-led regional trade pact, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, saying that he "welcomes" this.

Regarding China's unilateral announcement of its new air defense identification zone (ADIZ), he reiterated that he delivered "serious concerns" to China and that the U.S. does not recognize it.

Biden arrived in Korea on Thursday night on the final leg of his week-long Asia trip. He flew in from China after an earlier stop in Japan. He is scheduled to spend three days in Korea.

Before his speech, he visited Cheong Wa Dae and met President Park Geun-hye.

"It's never been a good bet to bet against America, and America will continue to place its bet on South Korea," said Biden during the meeting. "President Obama's decision to bring rebalance to the Pacific Basin is not in question. The United States never says anything it does not do," he added.

At his earlier stop in Tokyo, Biden has said that the U.S. is "deeply concerned" about China's move.

관련 한글 기사

바이든, 한일관계 개선 촉구…"中 방공구역 불인정"

한국을 방문 중인 조 바이든 미국 부통령은 6일 '역내의 두 민주주의 국가인 한국과 일본이 관계를 개선하고 협력을 확대한다면 더 안정적인 지역이 될 것'이라고 한일관계 개선을 촉구했다.

바이든 부통령은 이날 연세대에서 진행된 특별 강연을 통해 '우리는 동맹국간의 협력 제고를 촉진하고 있다'면서 이같이 말했다.

바이든 부통령은 또 중국의 일방적인 방공식별구역 선포와 관련, '나는 (중국 방문시) 매우 직설적으로 중국에 새 방공식별구역 발표에 대한 우려를 표명했다'면서 '이로 인해 많은 불안이 야기됐다'고 지적했다.

그는 '대통령을 대신해서 확실하게 말한다'면서 '우리는 그 구역을 인정하지 않는다. 미군의 작전에도 영향을 미치지 못할 것이다. 전혀(None. Zero)'라고 강조했다.

이와 관련, 그는 '동중국해든 남중국해든 수용 가능한 행동이 무엇인지에 대해 공통의 이해를 세워야 한다'면서 '위협이나 강압은 절대 용인되지 않으며 실수나 오판할 위험은 줄여야 한다'고 밝혔다.

그는 이어 북한 문제와 관련, '미국은 우리 동맹국을 북한의 도발로부터 지키기 위해 어떤 일도 할 준비가 돼 있다'면서 '북한은 핵무기를 추구하는 한 절대로 안보와 번영을 누릴 수 없다'고 미국의 입장을 재확인했다.

그는 '우리는 핵으로 무장한 북한을 받아들이지 않을 것'이라면서 '나쁜 행동을 추구하는 것을 보상하는 (과거) 패턴으로 돌아가면 안 되며 6자회담을 지속하려면 검증 가능하고 되돌릴 수 없는 비핵화를 이뤄내야 할 것'이라고 말했다.

또 '미국은 한국의 영구적인 분단을 절대로 받아들이지 않을 것'이라고 강조했다.

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