1. Minister of Foreign Affairs Kang Kyung-wha attended the 26th ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) held in Bangkok, the Kingdom of Thailand, on August 2, during which she shared views on regional and international issues, including the Korean Peninsula issue.
○ In addition to ten ASEAN member states, the meeting brought together Secretary of State of the United States Mike Pompeo, State Councilor and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China Wang Yi, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan Taro Kono, Deputy Foreign Minister of the Russian Federation Igor Morgulov, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Australia Marise Payne, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Canada Chrystia Freeland, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini and Ambassador of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) to Thailand Kim Je-bong.
○ A number of ministers who joined the meeting discussed the Korean Peninsula issue as the most important agenda, and exchanged their views on major security issues in the region including the South China Sea, Rakhine state, terrorism and violent extremism, cybersecurity and security threats coming from tension over protectionism.
2. Minister Kang, stressing that Japan’s unilateral and arbitrary export restrictive measures against the Republic of Korea (ROK) go against the ARF’s long established tradition of dialogue and consultation as well as undermine the spirit of cooperation, called for an early withdrawal of such measures.
3. Minister Kang expressed concerns that the latest launch of missiles and projectiles by the DPRK could give negative impacts on the efforts to mitigate military tension and to establish lasting peace on the Korean Peninsula; explained the ROK government’s will and efforts to maintain the momentum for dialogue built over the past year; and asked for active support and cooperation from the whole international community including the ARF Participating Countries, in a bid to achieve complete denuclearization and the establishment of lasting peace on the Korean Peninsula.
○ At the meeting, the majority of ministers expressed their willingness to cooperate and support the shared goal of achieving complete denuclearization and the establishment of lasting peace on the Korean Peninsula. In particular, they highly noted the ROK government’s roles in the process.
○ In addition, the ministers shared the understanding that the current situation lies at a critical juncture for making headway through dialogue, and called for each party to make efforts for an early resumption of dialogue.
4. With regard to the South China Sea, Minister Kang underlined the importance of upholding a rules-based maritime order and non-militarization commitments and hoped to ensure peace and safety in the maritime area as well as a peaceful resolution of disputes. Minister Kang also expressed hope that the ongoing discussion between ASEAN and China would lead to a Code of Conduct (CoC) in the South China Sea which is in line with international law and which fully respects the rights and interests of all countries.
○ The participants took note of ASEAN and China’s efforts on CoC negotiations, including the completion of the first reading of the Single Draft CoC Negotiating Text.
5. With regard to various regional cooperation initiatives, participants welcomed that “ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific,” adopted at the ASEAN Summit in June 2019, reflects major principles such as openness, inclusiveness, transparency, a respect for international law and ASEAN centrality, and agreed on the necessity of strengthening regional cooperation on the basis of such principles.
6. In addition to the chairman’s statement containing the results of the meeting, statements on aviation partnership, promoting the women, peace and security agenda as well as preventing and countering terrorism and violent extremism conducive to terrorism were respectively adopted at the 26th ARF. In particular, the ROK government actively contributed to the international community’s efforts to promote regional peace and stability by co-sponsoring Joint Statement on Promoting the Women, Peace and Security Agenda at the ASEAN Regional Forum.