Korea has its say at Asean meetings
“In sharing an evaluation of the situation on the Korean Peninsula, including North Korea's unprecedented launch of ballistic missiles this year, Minister Park Jin asked for Asean's cooperation on pursuing complete denuclearization of North Korea through diplomacy,” the foreign ministry said in a statement Thursday.
Park also brought up the Myanmar, including executions of pro-democracy activists by the military junta.
“While expressing a strong condemnation of the worsening situation in Myanmar, including executions of activists, Park also explained that the Korean government is making continuous efforts to contribute to a resolution on the Myanmar problem, including via humanitarian aid of $5.6 million this year,” said the ministry.
On issues in the South China Sea and the Ukraine war, Park said solutions must be sought within the framework of international laws and norms.
Park is in Cambodia through the week to attend the Asean Regional Forum, a coalition of 27 countries including the United States, Russia, China and Japan, scheduled on Friday.
Other sideline meetings included a meeting with Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi and an Asean Plus Three foreign ministerial meeting on Thursday, a coalition of Asean members and Korea, China and Japan.
Regional economic developments including the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) that launched for most members this year, as well as post-pandemic recovery were discussed at the Asean Plus Three meeting, according to the Foreign Ministry.
“The participants to the forum expressed high expectations for how the RCEP will contribute to a more stable supply chain in the region,” said the Foreign Ministry. “Park also expressed Korea’s intention to actively take part in the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework [IPEF] to ensure sustainable growth and development of the regional economy.”
RCEP is a free trade agreement between Asean and China, Japan, Korea, Australia and New Zealand, and the IPEF a U.S.-led economic coalition consisting of seven Asean members including Vietnam and Singapore, as well as Korea, Japan and Australia.
U.S-China tensions were raised with U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan on Wednesday and the Chinese ramping up of military activities in waters near the island.
At the Asean Regional Forum, where both U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Chinse Foreign Minister Wang Yi were scheduled to take part, discussions on topics such as the South China Sea may further escalate tensions.
“ARF is a forum where members discuss regional issues comprehensively,” said Ahn Eun-ju, deputy spokesperson for the Foreign Ministry, in a press briefing on Thursday. “Accordingly, issues related to the South China Sea have been discussed in the past and are expected to be discussed again this time.”
It was unclear as of press time Thursday whether Park will host a separate meeting with Wang during their visits to Cambodia.
The two were scheduled to meet next Tuesday in Beijing, according to a presidential official on Thursday.
BY ESTHER CHUNG [firstname.lastname@example.org]