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(LEAD) ASEM summit adopts chair statement condemning N.K. nuke, missile programs

All News 17:53 July 16, 2016

(ATTN: RECASTS lead; UPDATES throughout with more details; CHANGES photo)
By Song Sang-ho

ULAANBAATAR, July 16 (Yonhap) -- The Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) summit on Saturday adopted its chair's statement condemning North Korea's nuclear and missile programs "in the strongest terms," Seoul's presidential office Cheong Wa Dae said.

"The chair's statement includes content strongly condemning North Korea's development of nuclear arms and missiles, and calling for the full-scale enforcement of U.N. Security Council sanctions resolutions (against the North)," Kim Kyou-hyun, senior presidential secretary for foreign affairs, told reporters.

The statement said that Pyongyang's programs to develop nuclear weapons, missiles and other weapons of mass destruction are a "grave violation" of related U.N. Security Council resolutions, and endanger peace and stability in Northeast Asia and beyond.

It also called for "vigilance" against any activities supporting the communist regime's nuclear and missile programs.

The statement, moreover, mentioned that the leaders of the ASEM member states discussed ways to strengthen their cooperation over pending regional issues including the "recent situations concerning the Korean Peninsula and North Korea's human rights situation."

The two-day summit, which brought together top officials from more than 50 nations in Mongolia, ended on Saturday. The biennial gathering was held under the main theme, "20 years of ASEM: Partnership for the Future through Connectivity."

The chair's statement also noted that ASEM leaders welcomed President Park Geun-hye's proposal to resume the long-stalled meeting of ASEM economic ministers in South Korea next year.

The final decision on the proposal will be made at the ASEM Senior Officials' Meeting on Trade and Investment (SOMTI), slated to be held in Mongolia in late this year.

The economic ministers' meeting has not been held since 2003 in China. After that gathering, the ASEM members sought to hold another session later, but the move floundered amid a spat among ASEM members over Myanmar's human rights issue.

Kang Seog-hoon, the president's senior secretary for economic affairs, said that Park's remarks at the summit, which urged efforts to shun protectionism and solidify the foundation of free trade, were also reflected in the chair's statement.

"Park's core message for the spread of free trade, inclusive growth and the resumption of the ASEM economic ministers' meeting were included (in the chair's statement)," Kang told reporters.

Separately, the ASEM adopted the "Ulaanbaatar Declaration" and a statement on international terrorism.

In the declaration, the leaders evaluated the two-decade history of the ASEM and reaffirmed the need to enhance practical cooperation in improving the "connectivity" between Asia and Europe in social, economic, political and cultural areas.

The anti-terrorism statement condemned recent terrorist attacks including the latest in southern France, and expressed deep condolences to the victims and their families. It also stressed the need to punish terrorists in accordance with U.N. Charter and international law.

sshluck@yna.co.kr
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