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Non-Aligned Movement gives North and South equal attention

Aug 01,2008
Member countries of the Non-Aligned Movement that convened in Iran for an annual conference chose a closing statement that buttressed concerns of both Seoul and Pyongyang. Seoul diplomats have been working hard to have their position equally reflected in the statement along with that of Pyongyang, after diplomatic embarrassments at the Asean Regional Forum in Singapore last week.

NAM, a group of 118 countries that seeks to look out for the interests of developing countries, had an annual conference in Tehran last week and released the statement on Wednesday night.

It said that NAM member countries support all inter-Korean joint declarations as well as other agreements signed in the six-party talks seeking to denuclearize the North.

“The ministers expressed their support towards efforts to reunify the Korean Peninsula ... as stated in the North-South Joint Declaration of 15 June 2000 and the Declaration for Development of North-South Relations and Peace and Prosperity of 4 October 2007 ... as well as all other previous North-South joint statements and agreements,” it read.

It also expressed “support for the joint statements of principles of 19 September 2005 and subsequent agreements at the [six-party] talks.”

South Korea is not an official NAM member but sent senior government officials, including the director of the Foreign Ministry’s office of multilateral affairs, to the event as guests to present Seoul’s agenda.

The statement was a relief to Seoul diplomats who are facing criticism at home for failing to promote the South’s interests while the North pushes its agendas on the world stage.

Pyongyang has long contended Seoul’s new Lee Myung-bak administration does not respect the declaration signed last October by North Korean leader Kim Jong-il and former South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun. The declaration addressed issues such as easing military tensions and the eventual signing of a peace treaty to officially end the Korean War. Pyongyang considers such a peace treaty a step toward gaining international legitimacy. As such, it has put more emphasis on the 2007 declaration than past agreements.

But Seoul has claimed all other major agreements signed by Pyongyang should be equally respected, including the September 2005 breakthrough in the six-party talks that mapped out the North’s denuclearization process in detail.


By Jung Ha-won Staff Reporter [hawon@joongang.co.kr]


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