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Countries welcome restoration of inter-Korean communication lines at ASEAN meetings

South Korean Foreign Minister Chung Eui-yong participates in the ASEAN Regional Forum on Friday. (Ministry of Foreign Affairs/Yonhap)
South Korean Foreign Minister Chung Eui-yong participates in the ASEAN Regional Forum on Friday. (Ministry of Foreign Affairs/Yonhap)
Countries have welcomed the restoration of inter-Korean communication lines in their joint statements adopted after a series of multilateral meetings led by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations last week, South Korea's foreign ministry said Monday. 

Such phrases were included in all four chairman's statements from the ministerial meetings of South Korea-ASEAN, the East Asia Summit, ASEAN plus its three Northeast Asian dialogue partners -- South Korea, China and Japan -- and the ASEAN Regional Forum.

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

The ASEAN meetings came after the two Koreas reconnected cross-border communication lines that had been cut off for more than a year, amid Seoul's efforts to reengage with Pyongyang. 

"The four chairman's statements all reflect the focal elements that South Korea has stressed, including the importance of dialogue and diplomacy and achieving peace on the Korean Peninsula based on the agreements reached between the two Koreas and between the North and the United States," the ministry said. 

"In particular, they include messages welcoming the restoration of the South-North Korea communication lines," the ministry said.

The meetings reaffirmed the international community's "unwavering support for the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and establishment of permanent peace through dialogue and diplomacy," it added. 

The ARF is known as the rare regional security forum that North Korea attends. This year, the North's top envoy to Indonesia, An Kwang-il, was present at the meeting. 

The joint statements also called for countries to work together in the research and development, production and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines to ensure equitable access to all, the ministry said. 

To achieve economic resilience, the countries should also work to maintain market openness and regional supply chains and effectuate the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership - a free trade agreement involving ASEAN and its key partners in the Asia Pacific, including South Korea, China, Japan, Australia and New Zealand, the ministry said. (Yonhap)

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