News: Korean Crisis on the Agenda in Bali
Nusa Dua. The third Bali Democracy Forum could serve as a venue to discuss possible solutions to the conflict on the Korean peninsula, Foreign Affairs Minister Marty Natalegawa said on Tuesday.

He said the theme of this year’s forum, “Democracy and the Promotion of Peace and Stability,” was relevant to the situation on the peninsula and would allow participants to contribute possible solutions to the crisis between South and North Korea.

Marty underlined, however, that the two-day event, which opens on Thursday, would be more of a communication forum, without any pretense to mediate between North and South Korea.

The dialogue, he said, will be informal in nature and will not take away from the main agenda of the annual meeting, which is to promote and strengthen democratic institutions in the region.

Indonesia will touch on the issue in a bilateral meeting between President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and his South Korean counterpart, Lee Myung-bak, before the opening session.

Marty said Yudhoyono would receive firsthand information from the South Korean president on the recent tensions between the two Koreas.

“Indonesia will also offer our help in any capacity that might be needed,” he said. Continuous communications, he added, are ongoing between him and his South Korean and Chinese counterparts, as well as North Korea’s ambassador to Indonesia.

Indonesia, Marty said, remains committed to supporting six-party talks involving China, Japan, North Korea, Russia, South Korea and the United States in finding a solution to the conflict on the Korean peninsula.

“But we should not ignore the fact that there have been civilian victims,” he said, referring to recent incidents along the western maritime border between the two countries.

Four South Koreans died when the North launched an artillery barrage on Yeonpyeong Island, home to both fishing communities and military bases. It was the first time the North had targeted a civilian area since the 1950-53 Korean War.

South Korean news agency Yonhap quoted President Lee’s office as saying the president was expected to arrive in Indonesia around midnight tonight.

It said his meeting with Yudhoyono would “review the implementation of the development of the South Korea-Indonesia strategic partnership and discuss bilateral issues including cooperation in the defense industry and South Korean firms’ foray into the Indonesian market.”

Also on the agenda are security conditions on the Korean peninsula and ways for cooperation on the global stage, such as through Asean and the G-20, it added.

Yudhoyono and Lee will co-chair the democracy forum on Thursday before Lee departs for Malaysia for a two-day state visit to mark the 50th anniversary of diplomatic ties.

According to Marty, South Korea was chosen to co-chair the Bali forum with Indonesia because both countries had gone through a similar transformation from authoritarian rule to democracy.

On the ministerial level, the forum will be attended by foreign ministers from eight countries.

Nine heads of state have also confirmed their attendance.

Marty expressed hope the forum would continue to grow and become one of the premier forums in the region for the discussion of issues related to democracy.

“We would like to maintain the synergy on democracy implementation in the region,” he said.


~ by zulkhanip on December 9, 2010.

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