Both Germany and South Korea agreed on Saturday for there to be closer cooperation amid rising tensions on the Korean peninsula.
German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock visited Seoul, the second leg of her trip to the East Asia region, having already visited China where she held strategic talks in Beijing.
“South Korea is not only a consolidated democracy, but also one of our closest valued partners outside Europe,” Baerbock told reporters.
Baerbock criticizes North Korean missile activity
Baerbock made a visit to the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) between South Korea and its northern neighbor shortly after arriving and went on to hold talks with Seoul’s top diplomat, Park Jin.
“North Korea’s missile tests, which are contrary to international law, cannot be justified by anything and pose a real threat to security in the Pacific and to your country in particular,” Baerbock said while adding: “You can count on us to stand firmly by your side as partners.”
On Friday North Korea boasted that it had flight-tested a solid-fuel intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) for the first time.
Pyongyang has fired more than 100 missiles into the sea since the start of 2022 and leader Kim Jong Un has ordered the production of “weapon-grade nuclear material” to build powerful bombs to be ramped up.
Germany-Korea relations commemorate 140 years
Park highlighted the 140th anniversary of German-Korean relations this year, and said strategic dialogue between the two countries was of particular significance.
In reference to North Korea’s missile test this week, Park said: “We need a stern response at an international level” including from Germany.
The next stop for Baerbock is Japan, current holders of the G7 presidency and hosts of a foreign ministers meeting from April 16 to 18.