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North Korea to send ambassador to Southeast Asia bloc

July 22, 2011

ASEAN Flags. - AFP (File Photo)

SEOUL: North Korea said Friday it would appoint a full-time ambassador to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to expand ties with the 10-nation regional bloc.

“The DPRK (North Korea) government decided to dispatch its ambassador to ASEAN to further expand and develop the friendly and cooperative relations with ASEAN,” a foreign ministry spokesman told the official news agency.

This would increase “the mutual confidence and mutually beneficial cooperation”, he said.

No details were given of who would fill the post or where he or she would be based. ASEAN is headquartered in Jakarta.

North Korea has always paid “deep attention to the development of relations with ASEAN with a long history and tradition,” the spokesman said.

“ASEAN has emerged a powerful political and economic force promoting regional peace, stability and prosperity on the principle of respect for sovereignty, non-interference in internal affairs and equality.”

The statement coincided with this week's opening in Indonesia of the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), Asia's main security dialogue. The North's Foreign Minister Pak Ui-Chun is among those taking part.

North Korea joined ARF in 2000 and acceded to the bloc's Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia in 2008.