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S. Korean vice FM urges energy cooperation in Northeast Asia

All Headlines 10:48 June 30, 2014

SEOUL, June 30 (Yonhap)-- Countries in Northeast Asia should cooperate in the energy sector to contribute to promoting regional peace and security and help build trust among them, a South Korean vice foreign minister said Monday.

Cho Tae-yul, Seoul's second vice minister of foreign affairs, said that though the Asia-Pacific region accounts for 40 percent of total global energy consumption, fossil fuel is still the region's dominant energy source, which necessitates efforts to boost cooperation in addressing climate change.

"All stakeholders in the public and private sectors should work together to ensure a secure and clean energy future in the Asia-Pacific region," Cho said in a keynote speech to the 2014 Pacific Energy Summit.

He said that natural gas and nuclear energy are regarded as more realistic alternatives to bridge the gap between fossil fuel and renewable energy.

"However, Northeast Asia is a region where we can see a mismatch between growing economic interdependence on the one hand, and backward political and security cooperation on the other. This is what we call 'the Asian Paradox,'" Cho said.

Cho introduced President Park Geun-hye's main pillars of foreign policy -- "The Northeast Asia Peace and Cooperation Initiative" and "the Eurasia Initiative" -- as ways to boost energy cooperation.

The former calls for countries in the region to build trust through nonpolitical cooperation such as in the environment, nuclear safety and energy security before coping with political and security matters.

The Eurasia Initiative calls for building more infrastructure and freeing up trade between Eurasian nations to create what could become a large single market rivaling the European Union.

"I believe that energy cooperation among countries in Northeast Asia could also contribute to creating an environment conducive to regional peace and security as it could help to build trust in the region," Cho said, adding that nuclear and energy security are areas in which tangible progress could be made.


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