Foreign Minister Heiko Maas travelled to South Korea on Thursday (26 July). After Tokyo, Seoul is the second stop of his first trip to Asia. While in the South Korean capital, Maas’ agenda will include a meeting with his counterpart Kang Kyung wha and a visit to the Demilitarised Zone that separates North and South Korea.
Germany stands in solidarity with South Korea
The talks will centre on the conflict with regard to the threat of a nuclear armed North Korean regime. Germany supports South Korea’s two pronged approach: In addition to remaining open to dialogue, sanctions must be kept in place until concrete steps are taken towards complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearisation.
In its own history, Germany has experienced first hand the pains of division. One of the things that Germany inherited from this division is a diplomatic mission in North Korea. Only very few Western countries maintain their own embassy in the isolated country. Berlin and Seoul have therefore for many years now remained in close contact regarding developments on the Korean peninsula. Minister Maas’s visit sends the signal that Germany stands ready to support, to the best of its ability, talks on the full nuclear disarmament of North Korea.
United in their support for international law and opposition to isolation
South Korea's strong commitment to free trade and binding international rules makes the country an important ally for Germany. Foreign Minister Maas will therefore use his visit to Seoul to argue that both countries should work together even more closely on security policy issues, as well as conduct more frequent coordination in terms of strategy.