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  • Writer's pictureAlexander Han

Kerry: US is confident about Japan’s coordination with IAEA on contaminated water...

  • Kerry: US is confident about Japan’s coordination with IAEA on contaminated water. It is not appropriate for US to jump in.

John Kerry, the US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, mentioned on April 18 that the US is confident that Japan will cooperate with the IAEA in the process of releasing contaminated water from Fukushima, and that the US has no intention of interfering.

Special Envoy Kerry held a press meeting in a hotel in Seoul on the day during his visit to Korea. When asked whether the US shares Korea’s concerns on the issue, he commented, “The core of the issue is Japan’s continued coordination with the IAEA as it monitors the release process. The US is confident that Japan has worked very closely with the IAEA, and will continue to do so.”

“The US is confident that the Japanese Government has had full consultation with the IAEA, and that the IAEA has set up a very rigorous process,” Kerry said. “I know that the Japan has weighed all the options and the effects.”

When asked whether the US is willing to take a certain role to ensure that Japan provides sufficient information to Korea, Kerry said, “We must keep a close eye on the process and how Japan and the IAEA move forward with this. However, we are not planning anything as of now. We don’t think it is appropriate for the US to jump in to the process that’s already underway and where there are very clear rules and expectations.”

Kerry expressed interest in whether Japan will make sure the relevant procedures, but added, “This is not anything the US engages in a formal way in process.”

Special Envoy Kerry’s remarks can be interpreted that the US does not fundamentally oppose Japan’s decision on water release itself and has no intention of interfering the IAEA’s validation process unless it shows any problems.

When asked whether he concerns about the impact of contaminated water release on American people’s health, Kerry replied, “Of course I do, just like everyone. And that’s what the IAEA is for. We will be keeping a close watch and intervene when needed, just like every other nation, to make sure the process does not pose a public health risk.”

He also explained that this issue of the contaminated water would not be an agenda of the Leaders Summit on Climate to be hosted by the US from April 22 to 23.

From April 16 to 17, Special Envoy Kerry met with Xie Zhenhua, China’s special climate envoy, in Shanghai, to discuss cooperation with China on climate issues. He arrived in Korea one day earlier to discuss cooperation on the issues with Korean Foreign Minister Chung Eui-yong.

Regarding Korea’s responses to climate change, Kerry said that “he has a deep respect for President Moon Jae-in’s policy and hard work,” and evaluated, “It is wonderful that Korea is paying very close attention to and leading the movement to address regional and global issues.”

When asked whether Xi Jinping, President of China, will attend the Leaders Summit, Kerry said, “We very much hope that he will take part in.” However, he added, “It is up to China to make the decision. None of us has the ability to force him to attend the Summit and try to force it.”


Yonhap News (April 18th)

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