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Draft ARF statement expresses concern over S. Korean ship sinking, supports U.N. statement

All Headlines 14:10 July 23, 2010

By Yoo Jee-ho

HANOI, July 23 (Yonhap) -- Foreign ministers attending Asia's largest annual security forum here are expected to express "deep concerns" over the sinking of a South Korean warship, and support a related U.N. statement, according to a draft chairman's statement seen by Yonhap News Agency.

"The ministers expressed deep concerns over the sinking of the Republic of Korea's naval ship, the Cheonan," said the draft statement from the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), referring to South Korea by its official name.

It also voiced support for the U.N. Security Council's presidential statement adopted earlier this month on the deadly sinking of the warship Cheonan in March, which left 46 sailors dead.

If the draft is adopted in its current form, it would be in line with earlier statements issued by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and other multilateral frameworks earlier this week.

The U.N. statement did not name North Korea as the culprit, nor did it directly blame North Korea. The draft only condemned the attack that led to the sinking of the ship.

In the draft, the ministers also "stressed the importance of maintaining peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula and in the region, and called on all concerned parties to resolve all disputes by peaceful means."

The ministers also "reaffirmed their support for the complete and verifiable denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and encouraged the parties to return to the six-party talks in due course," and spoke of the need to fully implement relevant U.N. resolutions, according to the draft.


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