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ARF to welcome U.S.-N. Korea talks, urge dialog

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and U.S. President Donald Trump meet at the demilitarized zone (DMZ) separating South and North Korea on June 30, 2019. (KCNA/Kyodo)

BANGKOK (Kyodo) -- Ministers attending a region security forum in Bangkok in August will welcome the recent talks between the leaders of the United States and North Korea and urge dialog among concerned countries in order to realize the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, according to the draft statement.

The ASEAN Regional Forum, to be held in the Thai capital on Aug. 2, gathers 27 foreign ministers -- including those of the United States, China and North and South Korea, Russia and Japan -- to discuss security issues. It is one of the few multilateral forums that North Korean attends.

Given recent changes in the situation such as the decision by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and U.S. President Donald Trump to resume working-level denuclearization talks in their impromptu meeting on June 30, it seems there is an aim to give priority to the push for dialogue without criticizing or provoking North Korea.

The draft chairman's statement seen by Kyodo News welcomes initiatives and efforts by South Korea, the United States and China to promote dialogue with North Korea.

"We urged all concerned parties to resume peaceful dialogue and continue working toward the realization of lasting peace and stability in a denuclearized Korean Peninsula, including through the full and expeditious implementation of the Panmunjeom Declaration, the Pyongyang Joint Declaration and the Joint Statement by the U.S. and DPRK leaders," it said.

At their summit on April 27 last year, Kim and South Korean President Moon Jae In issued the Panmunjeom Declaration calling for "complete" denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and efforts to declare a formal end to the 1950-1953 Korean War.

In their summit in September, the two leaders signed the Pyongyang Joint Declaration, in which Kim pledged to Moon that North Korea will permanently dismantle its major nuclear complex if the United States takes corresponding actions.

The ministers also note "international efforts to bring about the complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula."

The draft of the joint statement of the ASEAN foreign ministers meeting to be held at the end of July in Bangkok and the draft chairman's statement of the East Asia Summit foreign ministers meeting in early August have almost the same content as the draft ARF chairman's statement on the issue of North Korea.

ARF comprises the 10 ASEAN states, China, Japan, the United States, Russia, North and South Korea, India, Pakistan, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the European Union, Papua New Guinea, Bangladesh, East Timor, Mongolia and Sri Lanka.

ASEAN consists of Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, the Philippines, Malaysia, Myanmar, Thailand, Singapore and Vietnam.

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