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ASEM closes with adoption of AECF 2000, chairman`s statement

ASEM closes with adoption of AECF 2000, chairman`s statement

Posted October. 21, 2000 20:09,   


The Third Asia-Pacific Meeting (ASEM) closed its two-day conference on Saturday, after adopting the Chairman's Statement summarizing the results of the three rounds of summit talks and the Asia-Europe Cooperation Framework (AECF) 2000, which envisions the development direction and priority tasks for ASEM over the coming decade.

The leaders of the ASEM member states held the third round of the conference on social, cultural and other fields at the COEX Convention Center in Seoul on Saturday morning. They adopted the two documents unanimously and resolved to hold the next ASEM in 2002 in Copenhagen, Denmark.

President Kim Dae-Jung, chairman of the ASEM Seoul conference, said that in his assessment the third meeting had provided momentum for the development of ASEM member countries by providing good opportunities for charting comprehensive directions toward the group¡¯s progress in the new millennium.

Reminding the audience that during the Seoul conference the ASEM member states had adopted the Seoul Declaration for Peace on the Korean Peninsula in the context of welcoming the June 15 inter-Korean summit, President Kim said in his statement that North Korea's participation in the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) has provided an important momentum for securing peace and security in the region.

In accordance with the AECF 2000, the leaders of the ASEM member states are committed to abiding by the principles and purposes of the U.N. Charter, respecting democracy and aspiring for equality, justice, human rights protection, elimination of poverty, preservation of cultural heritage and economic development. As a result the two regions of Asia and Europe will pursue their common interests and prosperity and form a future-looking partnership.

In connection with the admission of new members into ASEM, the AECF document stipulates a five-point membership guideline calling for gradual expansion of ASEM members, including the contributions of an applicant to the forum and final endorsement of the summit leaders. This will open the door not only to Australia, New Zealand, India and Pakistan, which have expressed a desire to join ASEM, but also to North Korea.

In the ensuing joint press conference with French President Jaques Chirac, concurrent EU chairman, President Kim disclosed that during the ASEM session period, three European nations, Britain, Germany and Spain, expressed a willingness to establish diplomatic relations with North Korea, underlining the significance of the fact that the member states have come to regard peace and cooperation on the Korean peninsula as one of their own problems.

President Chirac disclosed that his government delegation will visit Pyongyang in November and normalize ties with the North, but he added that before diplomatic rapprochement the North Korean leadership would have to answer questions with regard to nuclear non-proliferation, human rights and some other issues.