South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun on Friday proposed to transform the six-party talks on the nuclear issues on the Korean Peninsula into a permanent regional security body to enhance peace and cooperation in Northeast Asia after the denuclearization on the peninsula.
"The new forum should permanently function as a multilateral security cooperation body by playing a role in arms control and dispute arbitration," Roh said at the opening ceremony of an international peace forum on Jeju Island.
"Cooperation in Northeast Asia must not be restricted to security fields. It should lead to cooperation in logistics, energy, trade and monetary policy and eventually develop into a Northeast Asian economic bloc," Roh added.
Roh said his government will hold fast to the engagement policy towards North Korea.
"Despite missile and nuclear tensions, South Korea has to persuade the North and build up trust with maximum tolerance and patience," Roh noted.
"Our peace policy is long-sighted. We're striving to harmonize security (matters) of the present and future by focusing on a future Northeast Asian order involving relations with the US, Japan, China and Russia, rather than just on inter-Korean ties and the Korea-US alliance," said the president.
(Xinhua News Agency June 22, 2007)