S. Korea, Asean to push denuclearization

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BUSAN, SOUTH KOREA: South Korea and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) on Friday agreed to continue efforts to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula, urging the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) to completely implement international obligations.

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The agreement came after South Korean President Park Geun-hye and leaders of the 10 Asean countries held a special summit in Busan, a port city in southeast South Korea, for two days through Friday.

A joint statement was announced, saying that it would be important to maintain a sustainable peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula and Northeast Asia. To attain the goal, South Korea and Asean will continue efforts for the peninsula’s denuclearization.

The statement urged Pyongyang to make a complete implementation of all UN Security Council’s resolutions and international obligations and promises made under the September 19 Joint Statement, which was adopted in 2005 to dismantle the DPRK’s nuclear weapons program.

It stressed the need for resuming the long-stalled six-party talks that will become the base of complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization on the peninsula.

The six-party talks, which involve, China, the DPRK, the United States, South Korea, Russia and Japan, was initiated in Beijing in August 2003 but has been halted since December 2008.

“Korea and the Asean shared views that security in Northeast Asia and Southeast Asia is closely linked,” Park said in a joint press conference with Myanmar President Thein Sein after the summit meeting. “(The two sides) agreed to strengthen cooperation in security to create sustainable peace and stability in both regions,” said Park.

Tensions remained on the peninsula as the two Koreas exchanged quarrels. Seoul voiced serious regrets on Friday over the DPRK’s condemnation of President Park by name. The DPRK’s Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of Korea (CPRK) on Thursday censured Park by name, warning that she should “control her tongue.”

Park has said in a recent keynote speech in Seoul that the “North’s nuclear development is the biggest factor of instability in Northeast Asia and poses a serious threat to world peace.”

Meanwhile, South Korea and the Asean agreed to raise trade between the two sides to $200 billion by 2020 through the maximum use of free trade agreement (FTA) already signed eight years ago.

The two sides will maximize the usage of the bilateral FTA, aiming to lift the trade value between the two sides to $200 billion in 2020 from $135 billion in 2013.

The ASEAN-South Korea FTA negotiations reached a conclusion in 2006, which more than doubled the bilateral trade from $61 billion in 2006 to $135 billion in 2013.

The two sides will deepen cooperation in energy and infrastructure projects, while seeking new cooperation areas going forward.   PNA/Xinhua

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