Kang to attend ARF security forum with focus on N.K. dialogue resumption, peace efforts

SEOUL– Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha was set to attend an annual security forum, involving the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), on Saturday, with a focus on mustering regional support for Seoul’s push to resume stalled dialogue with North Korea.

Kang and her counterparts from more than two dozen countries, including 10 member states of the regional bloc, are expected to join the video-linked ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) on the last day of a series of ASEAN-related virtual gatherings that began Wednesday.
North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Son-gwon will not join the session, Vietnam, this year’s host of the ASEAN gatherings, has said. Instead, Pyongyang is expected to send a senior diplomat in Hanoi to the ARF session.

Kang is expected to use the multilateral session to reiterate Seoul’s commitment to resuming dialogue with Pyongyang and pushing for inter-Korean cooperation in humanitarian and other areas that are not subject to international sanctions.

Seoul’s push for inter-Korean rapprochement and lasting peace on the divided Korean Peninsula has been thrown into doubt amid a deadlock in nuclear negotiations between Washington and Pyongyang.

On Wednesday, Kang joined the ASEAN Plus Three meeting, which includes South Korea, China and Japan; the South Korea-ASEAN foreign ministers’ meeting; and the East Asia Summit (EAS) session. All these sessions were held via videoconference due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

At the sessions, Kang called for stronger multilateral cooperation in tackling transnational issues, such as the new coronavirus, while reaffirming Seoul’s resolve to deepen relations with ASEAN under its signature New Southern Policy.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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