Today’s ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) meeting in Phnom Penh, Cambodia is expected to adopt a president’s statement covering a number of regional security threats including that of North Korea.
South Korean Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Kim Sung Hwan is planning to push the denuclearization issue at the event, which is being attended by foreign ministers from all 27 ASEAN countries, the U.S. and indeed all the Six-Party Talks states.
In particular, Kim is expected to emphasize the South Korean position that North Korea violated UN resolutions with its April rocket launch, and to push for an expression of concern at Pyongyang’s ongoing uranium enrichment efforts in the final statement.
On this, a MOFAT official told Daily NK today, “Minister Kim Sung Hwan will make a statement whose purpose is to say that further North Korean provocations will not be tolerated, that UN resolutions must be obeyed, and that they must show sincere signs of denuclearization.”
In response, North Korea is likely to restate its assertion that the rocket was for space launch only, and that space launches are the sovereign right of independent states.
There is also a planned trilateral meeting between the U.S., South Korea and Japan to be held during the event in Phnom Penh.
Meanwhile, North Korean Foreign Minister Park Ui Chun’s ten-man delegation is known to have held its own bilateral meeting with a Chinese delegation led by Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi yesterday morning.
On this meeting, Chinese news agency Xinhua today reported that, “Pak Ui Chun said that the DPRK highly values its friendly and cooperative relations with China and the DPRK-China friendship is unbreakable.”
“The DPRK side thanked China for giving valuable support and assistance to the DPRK in its economic and social development over the years and expressed readiness to reinforce friendship and cooperation in all fields and step up communication and coordination with China in regional and international affairs,” the piece added.
For his part, the Yang noted the need for peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula, and urged the restarting of the Six-Party Talks.