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PIA Press Release

PGMA assures NoKor issue will be discussed in ASEAN-China Summit

GUILIN, China (via PLDT/SMART) (30 October) -- North Korea's nuclear test will be among the issues to be discussed today at the 15th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) + China commemorative summit, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo said Sunday.

In an interview by veteran Manila Standard Today columnist Emil Jurado during the President's tour of the idyllic Lijang River yesterday, the Chief Executive said she will bring up the North Korean nuclear issue in her opening statement at the 15th anniversary of Asean-China relations.

"China is the key to the solution to the North Korea issue because North Korea is so economically dependent on China," she said. "We can promote stability if we work together on the North Korea issue."

The President added that although the Asean-China Summit is supposed to be the forum to discuss economic issues, it would be beneficial to discuss security issues too.

"I will include it (the NoKor issue) in my opening statement because even if Asean-China forum is basically an economic forum, this is a very good opportunity to discuss not only economic but also security issues," she said.

"When the heads of government get together, it (the discussion of security issues) helps tie the region together. It strengthens solidarity in time of crises," the President added.

China, a dialogue partner of Asean and a member of the powerful United Nations Security Council, is an acknowledged supporter of Pyongyang in terms of trade and foreign aid.

Beijing is also a member of the Six-Party Talks, which also includes the United States, South Korea, Russia, and Japan. The ultimate aim of the Six-Party Talks is to resolve the nuclear weapons issue.

However, Pyongyang’s first-ever nuclear test has tipped the balance, with China supporting a UN resolution seeking to impose sanctions on North Korea for violations of international laws governing nuclear weapons.

"China can help us address the threats on regional security which includes the conflict in the South China Sea. By our dialogue we are transforming the South China Sea from an area of conflict to an area of cooperation," the President said.

The Philippines, together with Vietnam and China have reached the final stages of a joint seismic testing at the Spratlys Islands that is expected to be completed next year.

Completion of the studies are expected to lead to joint oil explorations in the mineral-rich islands thus making an agreement on a regional code of conduct imperative. (PIA) [top]

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