Sideline encounters at ASEAN meetings
Sideline encounters at ASEAN meetings

We begin over in Laos where a series of high-profile
regional meetings are being held. South Korea’s Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se
is working the diplomatic levers to keep relations with China steady in the wake of the decision
with Washington to deploy the missile defense system THAAD to South Korea.
Kwon Soa files this report from Laos. While South Korea’s Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se
and his North Korean counterpart had a short encounter,… during which they reportedly
said they were glad to see each other,… it was a different story for North Korea and
China. Pyongyang and Beijing’s foreign ministers
held their first bilateral talks in two years… on the sidelines of the ASEAN Regional Forum,…
the only security forum that the North Korean delegation regularly attends.
The beginning of their meeting was open to the media,… in what’s being seen as a rare
gesture. Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi congratulated
his North Korean counterpart Ri Yong-ho for taking the foreign minister post.
According to a North Korea official,… the meeting took place as part of normalizing
communication between the long-time allies. Pundits say South Korea-China relations could
go downhill,… while North Korea-China relations could move up.
China has been adamantly opposed to the deployment of the missile defense system THAAD to South
Korea, a stance shared by North Korea and Russia as well.
Meanwhile, Minister Yun reaffirmed his ties with the U.S.,… especially when it comes
to North Korea issues. “I believe this is the right time for us to
send out a very clear and strong message to North Korea that our alliance is stronger,
deeper and broader than ever.” “I’m very grateful to our friends in Korea
for their very significant contributions to so many different global issues.” Seoul’s chief diplomat Yun and his Japanese
counterpart Fumio Kishida agreed that South Korea-Japan relations have improved in recent
days,… since the landmark deal on Japan’s wartime sexual slavery issue last December. “With these developments there are concerns
that a South Korea-U.S.-Japan versus North Korea-China-Russia diplomatic structure is
forming. Kwon Soa, Arirang News, Vientiane.

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