The Korea Times
By Na Jeong-ju
SEOGWIPO, Jeju Island ― South Korea and Thailand agreed Sunday to make joint diplomatic efforts to help North Korea return to the six-party denuclearization talks and eventually abandon its program to develop nuclear weapons.
At a summit between President Lee Myung-bak and Thailand's Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva here, they shared the view that the North's recent missile and nuclear tests threaten the peace and stability of not only East Asia, but also the whole world.
The Thai prime minister is one of the 10 leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) who gathered here for a special summit between Korea and the economic bloc, the country's third largest trade partner. ASEAN includes Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand, the Philippines and Vietnam.
``Lee and Vejjajiva called for joint efforts to promote regional peace and stability and agreed North Korea's provocation will put Asia and the rest of the world in danger,'' Cheong Wa Dae said in a statement.
Lee discussed North Korea with other leaders and shared the need to cooperate for a peaceful resolution of the nuclear issue.
On Saturday, Lee held summits with Filipino President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung at the presidential office.
Lee and Arroyo expressed deep concerns over the North's recent nuclear test while calling on Pyongyang to observe U.N. Security Council resolutions and to immediately return to the six-party talks, Cheong Wa Dae said.
Lee and the Vietnamese leader agreed the nuclear test was a serious challenge to the international nuclear nonproliferation regime and a threat to the peace and stability of Northeast Asia and the world, it said.
On the sidelines of the Korea-ASEAN Summit on Monday, President Lee will meet with the leaders of Laos, Brunei and Indonesia to discuss regional security and ways to strengthen economic cooperation.
``The summit will mainly focus on ways to increase trade and investment between Korea and ASEAN, but the leaders will also address North Korea's nuclear threats,'' a Cheong Wa Dae spokesperson said. ``The ASEAN leaders hoped the nuclear issue will be resolved peacefully through the six-party dialogue and promised to help South Korea achieve denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.''