Chairman,
Excellencies,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

Introduction

It is my great pleasure and honour to be here and join this historic and important forum, I would like to, take this opportunity to pay tribute to the, Chairman of this conference, His Excellency Abdullah Badawi, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Malaysia, for the excellent preparation and arrangements for the meeting.

30 Year Anniversary and New Members

First of all, I would like to extend my heartfelt congratulations to the members of ASEAN, on the 30th Anniversary of the establishment of the Association of the Southeast Nations. The Republic of Korea highly values the role ASEAN has been playing for the last 30 years in ensuring peace and stability in this region. ASEAN has set an excellent example for regional cooperation by settling disputes through dialogue and promoting economic development through various schemes of cooperation.

I would also like to congratulate the members of ASEAN on the admission of new members in this auspicious year of 30th Anniversary.

I hope and believe that under the, aegis of ASEAN, these new members will make progress towards common prosperity and contribute to regional peace and stability.

Global Situation

When we take a look around today’s world, we find the condition for overall peace and stability more mature than ever. The international order of the day is often defined by globalizaton, interdependence and liberalization. These features together promote the new rules of the game among the actors, including fair competition and cooperation in their respective pursuit for better economic well-being. These new rules are generally set on, the assumption of stability and predictability in the world. Nevertheless, there are still spots where we witness continuing tensions that require our close attention.

In the Middle East, we hope that all parties to the peace process will make steps towards substantial progress through direct negotiations on the basis of the relevant resolutions and the principle of “Land of Peace.” On its part, Korea continues to support the realisation of a just comprehensive and lasting peace in this long suffering area.

In the Balkan region, the current stability in Bosnia and Herzegovina seems fragile, dependent on the outside influence of the stabilization force.

We hope that a durable peace could be established through faithful implementation of the Dayton Peace Agreement, and we therefore support all international endeavors to this end and will continue to contribute to such efforts.

We welcome the signing of the NATO-Russia Founding Act between NATO member states and Russia which will usher in a new era of cooperation and provide a basis for further NATO enlargement. We hope that an enlarged NATO with new members in the future will further enhance world peace and security.

On the economic side, progress has also been made in a wide array of issue areas. In this age of economic dynamism, the role of WTO in accelerating globalism, and providing the governing principles for international trade and economy is more and more emphasized. With regard to the so-called new issues on the, horizon, we hope that we will be able to work closely with the working groups. The groups are expected to take comprehensive and balanced approaches in creating new governing principles.

Korea hopes that major trading countries including China, Russia and so forth will become members of the WTO as soon as possible, so that they could do their share in strengthening the multilateral trading system.

During their meeting in Denver, G-8 countries focused on various global issues and proposed possible solutions. The Korean Government welcomes endeavors by G-8 countries for cooperation with the LDC’s, combatting terrorism, controlling infectious disease, and non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. We particularly appreciate their continued support for our efforts to bring peace to this corner of the world.

Currently, APEC is the only intergovernmental organisation encompassing the entire Asia Pacific region and is the very mechanism that will facilitate the promotion of regional interdependence. By adopting the Manila Action Plan for APEC(MAPA) last year, APEC has shifted from the preparation phase to the implementation phase to achieve the goals set forth in the Bogor Declaration. In this regard, the members of APEC are expected to contribute to the liberalization of world trade and, at the same time, enhance APEC’s credibility by implementing their respective Individual Action Plans(IAPs).

In protecting and preserving the earth’s environment, the principle of “sustainable development” should be applied in every country’s decision making process, and a genuinely cooperative relationship for the sustainability should be established with a view to ensuring the well-being of present and future generations.

The Special Session of the United Nations General Assembly has recently identified the priority areas for the protection and preservation of the global environment including freshwater management, clean air, energy, forest conservation, and radioactive waste management, among others. For its part, the Republic of Korea will continue to play an active role in international efforts for a better global environment, and in implementing various relevant environment conventions.

Transfer of Taiwanese Nuclear Waste)

While we are on this subjects I would like to touch upon the issue of the sound management of radioactive wastes.

The transboundary movement of radioactive wastes is a serious concern for Korea, in particular due to the attempted trans-boundary movement of such wastes in North east Asia. I would like to highlight here the following set of components as they were set out in the outcome of the Special Session of the UNGA, for environrnentally sound management of radioactive wastes :

Radioactive wastes should be, in principle, disposed of in the territory of the State in which they are generated;

Storage, transportation, and the trans-boundary movement and disposal of radioactive wastes should be guided by all the principles of the Rio Declaration and by Agenda 21, and should be undertaken in a manner consistent with international law;

The international community should take all efforts to prohibit the export of radioactive wastes to those countries that do not have appropriate waste treatment and storage facilities.

While looking forward to the early establishment of international and regional mechanisms for the sound management of radioactive wastes, the Government of the Republic of Korea hopes that the Governments represented here will persuade Taiwan to reconsider its plan which is incompatible with international norms and practices.

The Asia-Pacific Situation

During the last decade, the Asia Pacific region has witnessed an unprecedented economic dynamism and interdependence growing. among- the countries. However we should not forget that we can enjoy such uninterrupted prosperity only when security and stability are guaranteed. In this sense, the continued presence of the United States and the constructive role of China are essential elements for maintaining the peace and stability in this region.

As I noted earlier, ASEAN hag met these challenges with their common wisdom and consensual system to promote dialogue and peace. Particularly, I would like to commend the role of ARF as the only forum in the region with the valuable opportunity for a comprehensive dialogue on security cooperation. On the basis of ARFs achievements in fostering dialogue and cooperation during the short period since its inception, a better security environment will be created in the region, hopefully in the near future.

Korean Peninsula

In light of the above, I believe it is a fair assumption that the continued prosperity of Southeast Asia is also dependent on the stability and security of Northeast Asia.

As all of you are well aware, the Korean Peninsula is one of the few places where the vestige of the Cold War is still remaining. Despite all the waiting and the predictions made on the shape of the new leadership after the end of three year mourning for their late leader, the North Korean regime has yet to give us any clue on which direction it might take in the future.

However, we could take a little encouragement from North Korea’s recent consent to the Four Party Talks. The Four Party Talks, initially proposed by the two leaders of the Republic of Korea and the United States in April, 1996, represents the most practical approach to bringing about a lasting peace on the Korean Peninsula.

We have since made patient efforts to have North Korea come to the table for the talks.

Now that North Korea consented to hold the Four Party Talks and agreed on a preliminary schedule, I sincerely hope they have by now realized that it is North Korea who would benefit most from the talks. I take this opportunity to note with appreciation that the governments of our friendly countries present here have rendered us firm support by urging North Korea to accept the talks. I also hope that such support will be continued until our concerted efforts will bear concrete fruit.

Conclusion

Before closing, it would be most appropriate to laud at this session of ASEAN PMC on the 30 year Anniversary Of ASEAN’s creation, the achievements and progress that ASEAN has made during the last 30 years. The participants here, ASEAN members and Dialogue partners alike, all may recall the spirit of the ASEAN founders for common security and independence, conceived during the difficult years of regional turbulance.

I believe that ASEAN PMC will continue to provide precious opportunities for participating countries to exchange their views and perspectives on various issues ranging from regional to global matters.

I hope that such activities of ASEAN PMC will lead to further enhanced mutual understanding and cooperation among us. In this context, I would like to assure you that the Republic of Korea will do its best to endeavors of the regional community for permanent peace and prosperity in the region in the beyond.

Thank you.