South Korea seeks ASEAN’s role for Korean peninsular peace

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Moon outlines broad features of regional reconciliation

Singapore

Asean can continue to play a constructive role in helping to usher in peace and stability on the Korean peninsula, said South Korean President Moon Jae-in on Friday. “It is necessary to create opportunities for North Korea to fulfil its role as a responsible member of the international community,” he said in the highlight lecture of his state visit to Singapore, which ended on Friday.
“In the event North Korea carries out measures for denuclearisation with sincerity, I hope that the North will be invited to the various consultative bodies run by Asean, and that bilateral exchanges and cooperation between Asean and the North will be strengthened.” Mr Moon outlined how the regional grouping could help resolve the nuclear issue and bring about a deeply-rooted peace on the Korean Peninsula in his lecture, titled “Republic of Korea and Asean: Partners for achieving peace and co-prosperity in East Asia”.
The event, held at the Orchard Hotel, was part of the Singapore Lecture series in which world leaders give their readings on global and regional affairs. Mr Moon cited several Asean efforts so far which have kept North Korea in the fold of the international community. For instance, since 2000, Asean has supplied a venue for dialogue between North Korea and the international community – the Asean Regional Forum (ARF).
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and South Korean President Moon Jae-In at the Istana on July 12, 2018. Singapore and South Korea to cooperate for peace and stability in the region. Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and South Korean President Moon Jae-In at a joint press conference at the Istana on July 12, 2018.
Singapore can help with efforts to denuclearise Korea: South Korean President Moon Jae-in. The ARF is the only multilateral forum North Korea takes part in and it has been a vital channel of communication between North Korea and the international community, said Mr Moon. Asean has also consistently encouraged the North to give up its nuclear missile development programmes and choose the path towards peace and prosperity, he added.
Mr Moon said Asean and North Korea also had a mutually beneficial economic relationship before international sanctions were ramped up against North Korea in response to its nuclear programme. The regional grouping also supported economic cooperation between the two Koreas by allowing goods produced in their jointly-run Kaesong Industrial Complex to fall under the same tariff rates applied to South Korean goods under the Korea-Asean Free Trade Agreement, he added.
“When international sanctions against the North are lifted, once North Korea carries out complete denuclearisation, the once-vibrant economic cooperation between North Korea and Asean will be revived again,” he said. In his speech, Mr Moon laid out his envisioned road map towards peace on the Korean Peninsula, which involves the United States, Japan, China and Russia as well.—Agencies

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