Thursday October 12, 2006
Asean protests North Korea’s nuclear test
MANILA: Southeast Asian nations - including Malaysia - on Thursday joined an international chorus slamming North Korea’s claimed nuclear weapons test, and urged Pyongyang to desist from further tests and return to stalled negotiations.
"We are … deeply concerned by North Korea’s announcement that they have conducted a nuclear test,’’ said a statement issued by Philippine Foreign Secretary Alberto Romulo, the current chairman of the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations.
He said the claimed test threatened the peace and security of East Asia and was inconsistent with North Korea’s commitment under a joint statement issued during six-party talks in Beijing in September 2005, when Pyongyang promised to give up its nuclear weapons program for economic assistance and security assurances.
"We therefore protest such testing, and strongly enjoin the DPRK to desist from conducting further tests, and appeal to all parties concerned to exercise restraint, and to refrain from taking action that will aggravate the tension,’’ the statement said.
North Korea’s formal name is the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
The country said it successfully exploded an atomic bomb on Monday in a test of its nuclear capabilities, but the move has yet to be confirmed by international experts.
Asean called on North Korea to abide by the provisions of the U.N. Security Council Resolution 1695, which seeks the country’s return to the six-party talks, and to return at an early date to the 1968 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, from which North Korea withdrew in 2003.
Asean groups Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
North Korea is represented in the Asean Regional Forum, the region’s largest security gathering that includes the U.S., Australia and other Western partners of the group.
The six-party talks have comprised the two Koreas, the U.S., Japan, China and Russia. - AP
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