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Park pledges closer cooperation with Britain, France over N. Korea
SEOUL, Jan. 14 (Yonhap) -- South Korean President-elect Park Geun-hye said Monday she will work closely with Britain and France, especially in dealing with North Korea, as she met with the top envoys from the permanent member nations of the U.N. Security Council.


South Korean President-elect Park Geun-hye meets with French Ambassador Jerome Pasquier at her office on Jan. 14. (Yonhap)

"The issue of North Korea is very important in having peace take root not only on the Korean Peninsula, but also in the entire Northeast Asia," Park said during a meeting with French Ambassador Jerome Pasquier. "I hope (the two countries) will cooperate more closely at the Security Council to help North Korea make the right choice and change."

   Park stressed that it is difficult for a country to develop itself unless it works with the international community as a responsible member, and she hopes South Korea and France will cooperate closely to help Pyongyang move in that direction.

   Starting this year, South Korea has been serving a two-year term as a non-permanent member of the Security Council. France is one of the five veto-holding permanent members, along with the United States, Britain, China and Russia.

South Korean President-elect Park Geun-hye meets with British Ambassador Scott Wightman at her office on Jan. 14 (Yonhap)

In the meeting with British Ambassador Scott Wightman, Park said that South Korea and Britain have a lot to work on and discuss with each other in carrying out her campaign pledge to forge trust on the divided Korean Peninsula.

   Park made the remark after the British envoy said that his country has undertaken dialogue with North Korea through its embassy in Pyongyang about the standoff over its nuclear programs and its human rights conditions.

   Wightman said Britain has tried to show North Korea that the international community is not hostile toward the communist nation and will work with the Park administration to help it carry out a trust-building process with Pyongyang.

   Later Monday, Park also met with the ambassadors from member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, or ASEAN.

   "ASEAN countries are important friends of South Korea and cooperation partners. South Korea considers relations with ASEAN nations very significant and will further strengthen diplomacy toward ASEAN," Park told the envoys.

   Park also said it is impressive for ASEAN countries to make economic growth despite the global economic slump, and she hopes South Korea and ASEAN will further expand their economic cooperation.