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Seoul to launch int'l diplomatic council on N. Korean issues

Seoul to launch int'l diplomatic council on N. Korean issues

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Published : 2014-02-18 13:58
Updated : 2014-02-18 14:47

South Korea will form a consultative body with 21 foreign diplomatic missions here to boost coordination in dealing with North Korea, Seoul's foreign ministry said Tuesday.

The Korean Peninsula Club, to be comprised of 21 foreign diplomatic missions stationed here but in charge of both Koreas, will officially be launched later in the day whey they hold their first gathering.

The countries include Australia, Canada, the European Union, Finland, Italy, Mexico and Turkey.

Diverse inter-Korean issues as well as the North Korean situation would be on the table, according to the ministry.

"It is expected to serve as a venue for us to get useful assessments and advice on the North, which would come from their hands-on experiences and direct contacts with North Korean officials," a senior foreign ministry official here said.

"It will also be a chance to boost their understanding of our key policies on the North, ask for support and strengthen joint efforts of the international community for the peaceful Korean Peninsula and beyond," he added.

Their regular meetings are to be convened by Cho Tae-yong, Seoul's chief envoy on the North Korean issue, the official said, adding the members are planning to get together as needs arise.

Seoul is also eyeing to launch another consultative body similar to the Korean Peninsula Club, which would comprise of 24 countries that have separate establishments in Pyongyang, according to officials.

The formation of the consultative body comes at a time when the inter-Korean relations stand at a critical juncture amid growing uncertainty over the situation in North Korea.

Pyongyang sent a shock wave in December by executing leader Kim Jong-un's uncle and the No. 2 man Jang Song-thaek, which experts said would further stoke instability in the North's internal politics.

Since the beginning of this year, the young leader has made a series of charm offensives toward the South, with the two Koreas last week reaching an agreement to hold reunions of families separated by the 1950-53 Korean War and to stop slandering each other. (Yonhap)

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