S. Korea to maintain ‘solid’ ties with Britain, EU even after Brexit: govt official

June 27, 2016

SEOUL, June 27 (Yonhap) — South Korea will maintain its friendly ties with Britain and the European Union on “solid” footing even after Britain leaves the world’s largest economic block, a foreign ministry official said Monday.

The government will also keep its close cooperative ties with them on the diplomatic front, in particular, in dealing with North Korea’s nuclear weapons programs and human rights issues, the official told a group of reporters on condition of anonymity.

“Regardless of the Brexit decision, we will maintain our solid friendly relations with Britain and the EU,” he said. “In diplomatic areas with regard to such issues as the North’s nuclear and human rights, the foreign ministry will make efforts in a way that will keep its close ties can be kept intact.”

In a historic referendum held on Thursday (local time), Britons supported the proposal to leave, an exit that comes after it joined the block in 1973. The unexpected decision sent world financial markets into a nosedive amid worries that it could deepen the overall uncertainty in the global economy.

South Korea’s stock market also tumbled more than 3 percent on Friday, though it managed to end in positive terrain on Monday, indicating that it seemed to have regained some stability.

“The direct impact will be limited for South Korea but given that the shock caused by Brexit has been huge, global market volatility will likely persist for a long period of time,” said the official. “We need to keep an eye (on market situations).”

He said that the government will cope with the fallout by taking things seriously in the short term, while at the same time drawing up longer-term measures by taking into consideration the two-year time framework under which Britain is expected to leave the EU.

He also said that the foreign ministry will keep tabs on future developments through its overseas missions in the European region and made sure that it will do its best to avoid any “vacuum” in carrying out its diplomatic policies down the road.

“We will closely monitor developments and if necessary, we will form a task force to carry out more systemic countermeasures,” he added.