Asean concerned over Korean tension

Asean foreign ministers have expressed grave concerns over the growing tension on the Korean peninsula and pledged to issue a second statement if the conflict worsens.

  • Published: 11/04/2013 at 06:13 PM
  • Newspaper section: breakingnews

Thailand's Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Surapong Tovichakchaikul said the 10 Asean foreign ministers had openly discussed their concerns about the situation between South Korea and North Korea. 

Asean foreign ministers prepare for a photo opportunity at their annual meeting which this year was held in Banda Seri Begawan. (Photo by Anucha Charoenpo)

They agreed that the young North Korean leader Kim Jong-un should exercise utmost patience and tolerance in dealing with the situation and should be well prepared for negotiations to ensure constructive talks.

"Asean foreign ministers will keep a close watch on the situation and Brunei, as the host of the Asean Summit this year, assures that a second statement will be issued immediately if the conflict on the Korean peninsula becomes worse," Mr Surapong said after attending the Asean Foreign Minister's Meeting (AMM), in preparation for the 22nd Asean Summit which the 10 country leaders will attend between April 24 and 25.

Mr Surapong said Brunei played a key role in issuing the first statement expressing Asean's concern over the crisis on the peninsula on Feb 19. It also called on North Korea to discard its aggressive policy that has destabilised regional peace.

He told the AMM that the United Nations should also hold talks on North Korea in order to convince its leader not to use an aggressive policy.

Mr Surapong said all Asean countries were well-prepared to bring their people living in North and South Korea back to their own countries.

There are about 40,000 Thais working currently in South Korea and 10 Thais working in North Korea. The Thai Embassy in South Korea will act as a focal centre to help coordinate with Thais who wanted to seek help should the situation on the Korean peninsula worsen.

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Writer: Anucha Charoenpo
Position: Reporter

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