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Moon's special envoy says ASEAN leaders support Seoul's denuclearization policy

All Headlines 22:31 May 26, 2017

INCHEON, May 26 (Yonhap) -- President Moon Jae-in's special envoy to the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) said Friday that leaders of the regional bloc voiced support for South Korea's policy for the North's denuclearization.

Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon, the special envoy, made the remarks upon arrival from his six-day trip to the Philippines, Indonesia and Vietnam.

"I (and ASEAN leaders) exchanged our views over the idea that under any circumstances, nuclear arms must ultimately be removed from the Korean Peninsula, and this issue should be settled peacefully under certain conditions," Park told reporters.

"(Leaders) expressed their support for our government's thoughts and policy," he added.

During the trip, Park met with Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, Indonesian President Joko Widodo, Vietnamese President Tran Dai Quang and other officials.

During his talks with them, Park underscored that Moon recognized the importance of the relationship with the ASEAN, a crucial partner for Seoul due to its geopolitical value, growth potential and rich resources.

Moon has said that he would firm up the bilateral relationship with ASEAN "to the level of four major powers," which are the United States, China, Japan and Russia.

The ASEAN Community now has around 630 million people -- the world's third-greatest population after China and India -- with its gross domestic product reaching around US$2.4 trillion, nearly double that of South Korea.

It also boasts strategic locations linking the Indo-Pacific region that hosts the world's most crucial trading and energy supply routes -- a reason why the United States, China and other major countries have been vying for influence over ASEAN.

"I am sure that a breakthrough for our economy could come from ASEAN," the mayor said.

This photo, taken on May 21, 2017, shows Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon speaking to the press at Incheon International Airport, west of Seoul. (Yonhap)

sshluck@yna.co.kr
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