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Moon seeks Fealac’s help with Pyongyang

Kang named Latin America ‘ideal’ partner as it is free of nukes
Sept 01,2017
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President Moon Jae-in poses for a group photo with foreign ministers from East Asian and Latin American countries at the Nurimaru APEC House in Haeundae, Busan, on Thursday. [YONHAP]
President Moon Jae-in called for the support of Latin American countries with the North Korea nuclear issue as he addressed the Forum for East Asia-Latin America Cooperation (Fealac) foreign ministers’ meeting in Busan on Thursday.

“The South Korean government will further strengthen its efforts to create peace and prosperity in Asia,” Moon said in his opening remarks at the Nurimaru APEC House in Haeundae, “by linking its new southern cooperation with Asean, Mekong River nations and India with its new northern cooperation with Russia and Eurasian nations.”

Calling for exchanges with the Latin American region, Moon said that based on “mutual understanding and trust,” South Korea would push for various joint business ties, including trade, investment, science technology, infrastructure and transportation, on a level suitable for the fourth industrial revolution.

He said that the South Korean government and international community are responding to North Korea’s provocations, adding, “but at the same time, we are not sparing diplomatic actions, and the door for dialogue is open to encourage Pyongyang to make the right decision.”

He continued, “I am confident peace in Asia and the world can be realized so much sooner when Fealac takes an interest in this issue and works together to resolve it. Resolving the North Korean nuclear and missile issue, and establishing lasting peace in Northeast Asia cannot be issues that only concern powerful nations. I ask for your continued support.”

Fealac is an inter-governmental consultative body launched in 1999, involving 36 nations and two international organizations. It comprises 16 Asian countries, including Australia, China, Japan and Asean nations, and 20 Latin American countries, including Argentina, Brazil, Cuba, Mexico and Peru. The four-day forum kicked off Tuesday under the slogan “One Vision, New Action,” holding regional coordination meetings and the 18th senior officials’ meeting. It wraps up Friday. The plenary session had the theme “Promoting East Asia-Latin America Cooperation amid Global Challenge.”

Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha co-chaired the 8th foreign ministers meeting.

“North Korea should not be under any illusion that nuclear weapons will guarantee its security,” said Kang during her keynote address at the forum, adding that if Pyongyang continues to pursue its nuclear and ballistic missile programs, “it will only lead to deeper isolation and economic hardship.”

She continued, “The Republic of Korea will continue to work closely with both regions and institutions such as Fealac to achieve the complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula in a peaceful manner.”

Kang described Latin America, the world’s only nuclear-free zone, as an “ideal” partner for East Asia in dealing with North Korea’s nuclear and missile provocations. Underscoring that the South Korean government “firmly supports the peaceful resolution of the North Korean nuclear issue,” she continued, “We are committed to using all tools necessary, including sanctions, dialogue and negotiations to find a fundamental and peaceful solution to the current situation.”

Fealac nations collectively account for one-third of the world’s population, economy and trade. Since 2011, Korea has run Fealac’s Cyber Secretariat, bolstering coordination among member nations.

Kang also held bilateral talks with the foreign ministers of Laos, Philippines, Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Argentina, Mongolia and Honduras on the sidelines of the Fealac, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The Fealac ministers adopted a “Busan declaration” which they shared the view “that a lasting peace on the Korean Peninsula is of crucial importance for the peace and stability of Northeast Asia and beyond” and expressed “grave concern over the escalation of tensions on the peninsula, including the most recent ballistic missile launch. The forum also established the Fealac fund, with the partnership of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (Unescap) and Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (Eclac).

The first Fealac foreign ministers’ meeting launched in Santiago, Chile, in 2001, and has been held in cities including San Jose, Costa Rica, and Bali, Indonesia.

BY SARAH KIM [kim.sarah@joongang.co.kr]