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Park to attend East Asia Summit

All Headlines 07:40 September 08, 2016

By Song Sang-ho

VIENTIANE, Sept. 8 (Yonhap) -- President Park Geun-hye will attend a regional strategic forum in the Laotian capital of Vientiane on Thursday to tighten international cooperation in halting North Korea's evolving nuclear and missile programs.

During the annual East Asia Summit (EAS), Park is expected to highlight the seriousness of Pyongyang's escalating military threats and the need for stronger global unity to pressure the communist regime into renouncing its nuclear ambitions.

The forum comes after Pyongyang launched three mid-range ballistic missiles into the East Sea on Monday, the latest in a recent series of missile provocations.

The EAS is the region's largest strategic forum that consists of 18 members, including the United States, China, Japan, Russia and the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

Another issue -- high on the agenda for the high-powered forum -- is the South China Sea dispute.

During the South Korea-ASEAN summit Wednesday, Park called on the concerned parties to settle their maritime disputes through "peaceful and creative diplomatic efforts."

Seoul has been cautious not to step into the increasingly sensitive territorial issues involving the strategically crucial waterway. But calls have been growing for Seoul to play a role in protecting sea lanes of communication on the high seas as its export-reliant economy is heavily dependent on maritime trading routes.

On Friday, Park is set to hold a summit with her Laotian counterpart Bounnhang Vorachith. The leaders plan to discuss trade, investment, development and other areas of mutual concern, Park's office Cheong Wa Dae said.

Following the summit, Park will attend a business forum involving business leaders from South Korea and Laos before returning to Seoul.

This photo, taken on Sept. 7, 2016, shows President Park Geun-hye (5th from L) and the leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) posing for a photo during the South Korea-ASEAN summit in the Laotian capital of Vientiane. (Yonhap)

sshluck@yna.co.kr
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