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Bangkok, testing ground of diplomacy

Posted July. 24, 2000 07:47,   


The city of Bangkok in Thailand is beginning to look more like a testing ground of diplomacy for the North and the South Korea this week.

Following the unprecedented inter-Korean ministerial level talks on the 26th, the North is scheduled to make its entrance into the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Regional Forum (ARF) and become a full-fledged member of the international diplomatic community on the 27th.

Considering the minutes of the 6th ARF held in Singapore last year which adopted the chairman`s statement at the time expressing concern over the North`s missile launch and related activities, the upcoming approval into the ARF this year is a gigantic leap in the qualitative diplomacy of the North.

In the aftermath of the inter-Korean Summit, the current foreign policy of the South concerning the normalization of peace in the peninsula has placed a priority in the principles of the June 15th Joint Declaration and a secondary priority on the cooperation and support by the neighboring super powers. South Korean Foreign Minister Lee Yong Binn has announced his plans to formulate a code of foreign policy following a score of bilateral ministerial talks with the United States, China, Japan and Russia during the ARF.

Meanwhile, with the North`s discontinuation of missile launch last September and the talks in Berlin between the North and the U.S. which led to the removal of the economic sanction, North Korea has abandoned its isolationistic policy and have engaged in a blitz of peace talks with various nations around the world. North`s entrance into the ARF is nothing less than the crowning jewel in its new diplomacy. Following a successful bilateral peace agreement with the Philippines on the 12th, the North is currently scheduled for other such bilateral talks with the United States and Japan as well as other nations such as New Zealand, Australia and Canada with which the North had never held a meeting.

However, the North`s new era of diplomacy may not be all roses. Many analysts observed carefully that the continuation of current atmosphere of peace is contingent upon the North`s willingness to fulfill its obligation as a member of the ARF as all work toward the international peace and cooperation.