A top United Nations envoy is headed to China and the Russian Federation after wrapping up a visit this week to the Republic of Korea (ROK), where he met with the new President, Roh Moo-hyun, and other senior officials, a UN spokesman said today.
Maurice Strong, Secretary-General Kofi Annan's Personal Envoy for the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), had been in Seoul to attend the inauguration of the new President, with whom he met on Tuesday, according to spokesman Fred Eckhard.
Mr. Strong conveyed to the President warm congratulations by the Secretary-General as well as a letter in which Mr. Annan pledged to continue to do everything in his power to mobilize international support for the inter-Korean dialogue, reconciliation and cooperation. The UN leader said he also would facilitate Korean and international efforts to keep the peninsula free of weapons of mass destruction and the risks of war.
"The Personal Envoy reported on the mission that he is undertaking for this purpose on behalf of the Secretary-General, and the South Korean President expressed his support for this initiative," Mr. Eckhard said at a press briefing in New York.
During his trip, Mr. Strong also met with several foreign dignitaries and held extensive consultations with senior members of the new administration, the Speaker and several deputies of the National Assembly, and leading representatives of the ROK business community. He discussed ways to meet the urgent humanitarian needs of the DPRK, as well as specific steps to ensure peace and security in the Korean peninsula, according to Mr. Eckhard.
Immediately prior to his visit to Seoul, Mr. Strong met in Tokyo with Japan's Foreign Minister and other senior Japanese officials to discuss the same issues.