The Korea Herald


Regional leaders condemn terrorist attacks; vow to counter terrorism

By KH디지털2

Published : Nov. 23, 2015 - 11:32

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President Park Geun-hye and more than a dozen regional leaders on Sunday condemned a recent series of terrorist attacks in Paris and other areas as they pledged unshaken resolve to stand together in countering terrorism and violent extremism.

"We denounce terrorism and violent extremism in all its forms and manifestations, including the spread of violent extremist ideologies and propaganda" according to a statement issued at the end of the East Asia Summit in Kuala Lumpur.

The annual summit is meant to discuss regional and international strategic issues. It brings together the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations plus its eight dialogue partners -- South Korea, China, Japan, the United States, Russia, Australia, India and New Zealand.

The leaders also agreed to cooperate to counter terrorist and violent extremist ideology, and to invest in enhancing the ability of communities and individuals to challenge terrorist propaganda.

The statement is the latest in a series of moves by world leaders to galvanize international efforts to tackle terrorism following the recent deadly terrorist attacks in Paris that killed more than 120 people.

In Turkey, Park and other leaders of the G-20 summit condemned the deadly attacks in Paris and said they "remain united in combating terrorism."

In Manila, Park and other leaders of the 21-member Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum also strongly condemned terrorism and called for international cooperation and solidarity in the fight against terrorism.

Also Sunday, most of the leaders of the East Asia Summit shared the view that territorial disputes in the South China Sea should be peacefully resolved, noting the freedom of navigation and overflight should be guaranteed, according to Cheong Wa Dae, South Korea's presidential office.

The presidential office said various opinions over the South China Sea were put forward at the summit, in a thinly veiled reference to a rift in the region.

China has been pushing land reclamation projects in the South China Sea, creating tension with the U.S. and some Southeast Asian countries, including the Philippines.

"I hope that all relevant countries contribute to promoting peace and stability in the South China Sea by complying with pledges not to seek militarization" in the disputed region, Park said at the summit.

In September, Chinese President Xi Jinping said that "China does not intend to pursue militarization," in a joint news conference with U.S. President Barack Obama at the White House.

South Korea has a strategic interest in the South China Sea as it is a key shipping route through which 30 percent of South Korea's exports and 90 percent of South Korean energy shipments pass.

Separately, Park called on member states of the East Asia Summit to speak with one voice to North Korea to help resolve the dispute over Pyongyang's nuclear weapons program.

South Korea, China, Japan, the U.S. and Russia have been involved in the long-stalled negotiations to coax North Korea into abandoning its nuclear program.

Still, North Korea has repeatedly vowed to develop its economy and nuclear arsenal in tandem, despite repeated warnings from Seoul and Washington that the policy is a dead end for the country.

"North Korea should recognize that it can never get what it wants with its nuclear program, and give up the nuclear program and hold the hands of dialogue and cooperation extended by the international community," Park said in a separate summit with ASEAN.

Meanwhile, Park had a brief encounter with U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon at the summit in Kuala Lumpur. It came amid lingering speculation that Ban might visit North Korea.

Ban did not talk as he walked through the lobby of a hotel in Kuala Lumpur when asked by a Yonhap news reporter if he is willing to visit Pyongyang in December.

Last week, U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said discussions were under way about Ban's eagerness to play a constructive role in the Korean Peninsula situation, "including traveling there."

Also Sunday, Park held a separate bilateral meeting with Australia's new Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and they agreed to boost cooperation in economy and cyersecurity.

The leaders of the East Asia Summit also vowed to strengthen national and regional capacities to prevent, detect and respond to infectious disease threats.

Park left for home late Sunday. (Yonhap)