The Korea Herald


ARF issues statement voicing 'concern' over N. Korea's nuke, missile tests

By 김윤미

Published : July 27, 2016 - 20:41

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Top diplomats from Asia-Pacific countries and other regional powers issued a statement on Wednesday voicing their mutual "concern" over North Korea's nuclear and missile tests. 

Their concern was shared in a chair's statement issued one day after the wrap-up of the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), the largest regional security gathering which was held here in the Laotian capital. The North also attended the annual event.

"The Ministers shared concern over current developments in the Korean Peninsula, including the nuclear test on 6 January 2016, rocket launch on 7 February 2016 and ballistic missile launch on 9 July 2016, by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) which are in violation of the United Nations Security Council resolutions," read the statement posted on the ARF's official Website.

"The Ministers reaffirmed the importance of peace and security in this region and reiterated ASEAN's support for the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula in a peaceful manner," it added.

They also urged the North to "comply with" all UNSC resolutions, including the latest one adopted in the wake of the January nuclear test, while calling for more efforts to be made for the "early resumption of the six-party talks" for the sake of the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

There is no mention of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system in the statement despite speculation that China made a strong push to reflect its opposition to the missile defense system to be jointly deployed by South Korea and the United States on the peninsula. 

The ARF, held on Tuesday, was attended by top diplomats and representatives of 27 countries, including the 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, the EU and other regional powers.

It is a rare international event attended by the North and the other members of the six-party talks, which have been dormant since 2008. It involves the two Koreas, the U.S., China, Japan and Russia.

Before the ARF started, concerns were raised that it would be tougher than last year for South Korea to draw a favorable statement given that Laos, the chair of this year's event, has close ties with the North.

A high-ranking South Korean government official called the statement "satisfactory," saying that almost all of Seoul's demands were well reflected in its wording. (Yonhap)