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Moon pitches vision of regional railway bloc at Asia-Europe summit

BRUSSELS -- President Moon Jae-in laid out his vision for peace and prosperity in Northeast Asia and beyond, centering on continental railway links and regional security dialogue, at a forum of Asian and European leaders in Brussels on Friday.

    In his keynote address to the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) summit, the South Korean president also called for the leaders' support for peace on the Korean Peninsula, which is integral to building closer connections between the two continents, the presidential office Cheong Wa Dae said in a press release.



    "I have met with North Korean Chairman Kim Jong-un three times to confirm his commitment to denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and peace," Moon said in his keynote speech at the biennial summit.

    "North Korea and the United States, too, ended 70 years of hostility to sit face to face and hold talks for peace," he added, according to a script of his speech released by Cheong Wa Dae.

    The South Korean president proposed efforts to strengthen the connectivity between Asia and Europe while introducing his country's efforts to build an inclusive nation, prepare for the fourth industrial revolution and contribute to the connectivity of ASEM members.

    The ASEM summit brought together 21 Asian and 30 European leaders. The participating countries together account for 61 percent of the world's population, 65 percent of global trade and 57 percent of the world's gross domestic product, according to the presidential office.

    "Today, the world is facing many challenges. The order of multilateral trade that has been the foundation of global economic prosperity is facing a serious challenge. Economic and social polarization has widened. The earth is aching from climate change, while terrorism and extremists threaten the peace and security of the world," Moon said.

    "These challenges cannot be resolved by the capacity of each individual country. We must gather all our wisdom and strength," he added.

    The president explained his proposal to form an East Asian railway community involving six regional countries and the United States. The envisioned bloc, which he first proposed in August, would further enhance the connectivity of Asia and Europe, he said.

    Moon and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un have agreed resume work to reconnect roads and railways across the border. Officials from the two sides agreed this week to hold a groundbreaking ceremony in late November or early December.

    The inter-Korean roads and railways will greatly contribute to peace and prosperity in both Asia and Europe by enabling direct transportation of people and goods between the two regions, Moon told the summit.

    "I believe the connectivity between Asia and Europe will be completed through peace on the Korean Peninsula," he said in his speech.   

Moon arrived in Brussels on Thursday as part of a five-nation tour that earlier took him to Paris, Rome and the Vatican. He will head to Denmark later Friday. (Yonhap)