FM holds back

Foreign Minister Park Jin has spoken by phone with his counterparts from Israel, the United Arab Emirates and Jordan and discussed the escalating conflict between the Jewish state and the Islamic militant Hamas group, his office said Monday.

In the phone talks, Park expressed deep concerns over the expanding ground offensive in the Gaza Strip and the increasing death toll that has topped 9,400 from the fighting.

Speaking to Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen, Park condemned Hamas' indiscriminate attacks and wished for an early release of its hostages held by Hamas.

Park also pointed out the importance of abiding by international law protecting civilians and called for the need to stop civilian harm from increasing.

In the phone talks with his UAE and Jordanian counterparts, Park shared the view on the urgent need for a "humanitarian pause" to the war to keep the situation from worsening, noting the UAE's leadership in requesting an emergency UN Security Council meeting on the Israel-Hamas conflict.

In addition, Park asked for each country to pay close attention to South Korean nationals staying in Israel and nearby countries like Lebanon to help ensure their safety.

The foreign ministry said Park had also held phone talks with his counterparts from Saudi Arabia and Qatar, days before meeting them in person in Riyadh and Doha separately while accompanying President Yoon Suk Yeol's state visits to the two nations early last week.

They shared concerns over the situation in the Middle East and agreed to work together to prevent further escalation, the ministry said. (Yonhap)