The Korea Herald


FM to rally support against NK at ASEAN Forum

By Choi Si-young

Published : July 12, 2023 - 15:31

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Foreign Minister Park Jin (right) at the ministry headquarters in Seoul on Saturday. (Ministry of Foreign Affairs) Foreign Minister Park Jin (right) at the ministry headquarters in Seoul on Saturday. (Ministry of Foreign Affairs)

Foreign Minister Park Jin will seek to rally allies and countries to step up efforts for North Korea’s denuclearization at the ASEAN Regional Forum, the biggest security gathering in the region set to be held from Thursday to Friday in Jakarta, Indonesia.

Having repeatedly stressed a united coalition on the isolated country defying international sanctions prompted by its nuclear ambitions, the top South Korean diplomat will in particular double down on curbing the North’s illegal cyber activities meant to bypass sanctions and bankroll its nuclear and missile programs.

On Thursday, Park will hold talks with foreign ministers from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations; later in the day, he will also take part in separate talks with the 10-member bloc and China and Japan.

On Friday, Park will join the East Asia Summit, a meeting of foreign ministers from the Asia-Pacific nations, the US, Russia and India. The ASEAN Regional Forum, the highlight of the two-day event that brings together all participating 27 member states, will take place later in the day.

A senior Foreign Ministry official in Seoul said Park will reach out to ASEAN member states for their support for South Korea’s Indo-Pacific strategy, its latest foreign policy aiming to deepen Seoul’s ties with the 10-member bloc as part of raising its global profile.

Park, the official added, will also reiterate his commitment to opposing any unilateral attempts to change the status quo by force on matters involving China’s claims to Taiwan and Russia’s war on Ukraine. China says it could take over the self-ruled democratic island if necessary.

The top South Korean diplomat is expected to meet with Wang Yi on the sidelines of the ARF meeting. Wang will attend the gathering on behalf of Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang, who cited health reasons for the absence. Wang outranks Qing as the foreign policy chief representing the Chinese Communist Party.

Meanwhile, it is still unclear whether North Korea will send its foreign minister to the event, which last year was attended by its ASEAN ambassador. The North fired off yet another intercontinental ballistic missile into the East Sea on Wednesday, ahead of a meeting between President Yoon Suk Yeol and his Japanese counterpart on the sidelines of the NATO summit in Lithuania.