Khurshid to meet N Korea foreign minister today

Khurshid to meet N Korea foreign minister today

External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid will have a rare meeting on Monday with his North Korean counterpart Pak Ui Chun here on the sidelines of a meeting of the Asean Regional Forum (ARF).

The forum is expected to ask Pyongyang to desist from triggering nuclear tensions in the Korean Peninsula.

Khurshid, who reached here on Sunday, is expected to convey to Pakistan India’s concerns over its military and nuclear cooperation with North Korea.

The minister will also have a meeting with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi on the sidelines of the East Asia Summit.

Khurshid’s meeting with Pak Ui Chun will be the first high-level contact between New Delhi and Pyongyang in more than a decade.

The visit of Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, the then minister of state for information and broadcasting, to Pyongyang for a film festival in September 1998 was India’s last high-level engagement with North Korea. The then vice-president the Late Shankar
Dayal Sharma had visited North Korea in April 1992.

North Korea is perceived by the international community as a rogue country for its controversial nuclear programme.

The ARF, a 27-member forum hosted by Asean, is expected to express “concerns over the developments on the Korean Peninsula” during its 20th ministerial meeting here on Tuesday.

Apart from Khurshid and foreign ministers of South Korea and China, the ARF meeting will be attended by US Secretary of State John Kerry.

North Korea’s controversial pursuit of nuclear weapons is expected to take centre-stage during the meet, which is expected to seek “verifiable denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula in a peaceful manner for enduring peace and stability in the region”.

The ARF is also likely to urge North Korea to abide by its obligations under the relevant United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions and its commitments made during the six-party talks in 2005.

In the last six months, Pyongyang has launched a long-range rocket and conducted a nuclear test defying the UNSC.

Khurshid is expected to reiterate to Pakistan New Delhi’s stand that Pyongyang should “refrain from any such actions, which would adversely impact on peace and stability in the region”.

However, Pak Ui Chun’s arrival on Sunday triggered hope for an early restart of talks on aid-for-disarmament between Pyongyang and five other countries, the US, China, Russia, South Korea and Japan.

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