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National Assembly speaker arrives after MIKTA meeting

All Headlines 19:57 October 09, 2016

SEOUL, Oct. 9 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's National Assembly Speaker Chung Sye-kyun arrived in Seoul on Sunday after attending a gathering of parliamentary chiefs from five middle-power states in Australia.

During his six-day trip to the Oceanian country, Chung engaged in what he called "parliamentary diplomacy," which led to the adoption of a joint statement that condemned North Korea's Sept. 9 nuclear test and urged it to uphold U.N. Security Council resolutions, which ban its nuclear and missile provocations.

National Assembly Speaker Chung Sye-kyun speaks in a meeting with reporters at the Incheon International Airport in Incheon on Oct. 9, 2016. (Yonhap)

In the five-nation "MIKTA" gathering, named from the initials of Mexico, Indonesia, South Korea, Turkey and Australia, Chung and his four counterparts discussed an array of issues, including parliamentary independence from the government.

The two-day gathering in Hobart, Australia ended on Friday. MIKTA held its first gathering of its parliamentary chiefs in Seoul, South Korea, last year. Next year, it plans to hold the third gathering in Turkey.

In an interview with Yonhap News Agency before departing for Seoul, Chung pointed out that there is "room for improvement" in parliamentary diplomacy.

"It is important to ensure that our taxpayers' money is not wasted as we (parliamentarians) play a complementary role in supporting the government's diplomatic activities," he said.

"To this end, lawmakers should enhance their own independent (diplomatic) capabilities and their attitude (towards diplomacy) is also crucial," he added.

Commenting on the Seoul government's handling of foreign affairs, he said that South Korea's diplomacy has been "excessively" reliant on the U.S., its key security ally. He also said that diplomacy is for overcoming geopolitical difficulties, bolstering a country's voice on the international stage and ensuring national interests.

sshluck@yna.co.kr
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