N. Korea foreign minister expected to join ASEAN forum in Brunei

North Korean Foreign Minister Pak Ui Chun is expected to attend the ASEAN Regional Forum in Brunei slated for July 2, official sources said Tuesday.

The sources said Pak is expected to stay in Brunei for four days to attend the multilateral security meeting, and possibly providing an opportunity to discuss security on the Korean Peninsula directly with him.

According to a draft statement by the meeting's chairman, the 27 foreign ministers will express concern over recent tension on the peninsula.

A draft statement says, "The meeting expressed concerns over the developments on the Korean Peninsula."

"Most participants also urge the DPRK to abide by its obligations under the relevant U.N. Security Council resolutions and its commitments under the 2005 Joint Statement of the six-party talks," with the ministers reaffirming "the importance of the verifiable denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula in a peaceful manner for the enduring peace and stability in the region."

DPRK is the acronym for North Korea's official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

Among other security issues on the ARF agenda are territorial disputes in the South China Sea involving China, Taiwan, Vietnam, Malaysia, the Philippines and Brunei.

The draft says the ministers are to stress "the importance of peaceful settlement of disputes through friendly consultations and negotiations by sovereign states directly concerned in accordance with universally recognized principles of international law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea."

They are also to welcome "ongoing efforts to work toward a code of conduct in the South China Sea on the basis of consensus," and commend ASEAN member states and China for their efforts in maintaining peace and stability in the South China Sea, especially with regards to the implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea.

The ministers are also expected to discuss closer cooperation through information-sharing and capacity-building and tackling nontraditional security issues, including disasters, trafficking of illicit drugs and human trafficking.

According to the draft so far, the ministers would like the ARF to step up its role in "preventive diplomacy," by endorsing a Concept Paper on Moving towards Preventive Diplomacy.

The ARF members are Australia, Bangladesh, Brunei, Cambodia, Canada, China, North Korea, South Korea, the European Union, India, Indonesia, Japan, Laos, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, New Zealand, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, Russia, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Vietnam, East Timor and the United States.