ASEM calls on North to dismantle nukes

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ASEM calls on North to dismantle nukes

Asian and European leaders called on Tuesday for North Korea to dismantle its nuclear program in a complete, verifiable and irreversible manner and expressed deep concern over the March 26 sinking of a South Korean warship, an attack that Seoul blames on its communist neighbor.

“Leaders urged all parties to fulfill their commitments under the Joint Statement of Sept. 19, 2005 and under relevant UN Security Council resolutions, which provide the framework for the DPRK [North Korea] to abandon all nuclear weapons and existing nuclear programs in a complete, verifiable and irreversible manner,” read the chairman's statement issued at the end of a two-day session of the Asia-Europe Meeting in Belgium.

The 20-page document called for the two Koreas, the U.S., China, Russia and Japan to pave the way for the resumption of the long-stalled six-way nuclear talks.

Touching on the issue of the sunken South Korean naval ship Cheonan, the leaders “stressed the importance of preventing further such attacks.” But they did not directly mention North Korea, which denies any role.

They also “took note of the recent steps undertaken in inter-Korean relations, including the discussion of family reunions, and encouraged the resumption of such family reunions on a regular basis.”

The two Koreas agreed to resume the emotionally charged gatherings late this month, spurred by Seoul's decision to deliver rice and other emergency aid to the North, battered by recent floods.

The leaders also hailed South Korea's initiative to fight climate change. “In this context, leaders noted the establishment of the Global Green Growth Institute in Seoul, Korea, in June 2010, to support green growth in developing countries,” the document read.

In a separate document, the Brussels Declaration, they expressed support for implementing the International Monetary Fund quota reform by the G-20 Summit in Seoul in November “to adequately reflect the relative weight and responsibilities of the IMF members in the world economy.”

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