Yoon says N. Korea’s nuclear program is existential threat to Indo-Pacific

South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol said Thursday that North Korea's nuclear and missile development poses an existential threat to the Indo-Pacific region and called for the strict implementation of U.N. sanctions on the regime.

Yoon made the remark during an East Asia Summit (EAS) in Jakarta that brought together leaders from the 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and South Korea, the United States, Japan, China, Russia, India, Australia and New Zealand, according to the presidential office.

"North Korea's nuclear and missile development is a serious violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions, a direct challenge to world peace and an existential threat that can strike all participating nations at this meeting," the presidential office quoted him as saying in a summary of his remarks.

Yoon especially stressed the "heavy responsibility" of the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council to abide by the sanctions resolutions they adopted against North Korea, a point that appeared directed at Russia amid reports of a possible arms deal between the two countries.

He also discussed the need to block sources of funding for North Korea's nuclear and missile development, including cryptocurrency stealing, labor exports and maritime transshipments, and called attention to the issue of North Korea's human rights abuses.

Yoon has been in Jakarta since Tuesday to attend a series of annual summits involving ASEAN, including a South Korea-ASEAN summit and an ASEAN Plus Three summit with Japan and China.

ASEAN comprises Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

During the EAS, Yoon outlined South Korea's positions on key global issues.

On the war in Ukraine, he reaffirmed that Russia's invasion constitutes a clear violation of international law and shared South Korea's own experience of facing an existential crisis due to North Korea's illegal invasion in 1950. He also recalled his trip to Kyiv in July and his announcement of the "Ukraine Peace and Solidarity Initiative," a comprehensive package of security, humanitarian and reconstruction assistance.

On tensions in the South China Sea, Yoon said South Korea will not tolerate unilateral attempts to change the status quo by force and emphasized the need to establish a rules-based maritime order in the critical sea lane.

Yoon voiced concern over the continued violence and humanitarian crisis in Myanmar and expressed support for the ASEAN-proposed solution of halting violence and holding inclusive dialogue.

He also noted that both South Korea's Indo-Pacific strategy and the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific aim for freedom, peace and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific by seeking solidarity through the establishment of a rules-based order under the principles of inclusivity, trust and reciprocity.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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