Seoul wants Northeast Asia security forum

Oct. 29, 2003 at 4:38 PM
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SEOUL, Oct. 29 (UPI) -- South Korea reportedly wants to turn the current six-nation talks on the North Korean nuclear crisis into a permanent Northeast Asia security forum.

The Korea Times reported Ban Ki-moon, presidential adviser for foreign affairs, as saying, "We need to develop the six-party talks as a regional security forum ultimately to discuss steps to ensure peace and stability in the Northeast Asian region."

The Times said Ban's statement is significant, since it could mean Seoul will take the lead in creating a new security scheme involving neighboring countries around the Korean peninsula.

Currently, South Korea, North Korea, the United States, China, Russia and Japan are taking part in talks focusing on the North's nuclear weapons program.

Ban said the Association of Southeast Asian nations is the only security format in Asia, but it fails to meet the needs of the Seoul government as it mainly serves Southeast Asian nations.

The Korea Times said President Roh Moo-hyun's government wants to form a Northeast Asian community to promote stability in the region, describing it as the best way to guarantee continued national development and regional stability.

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