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UN endorses inter-Korean peace process

The UN General Assembly on Wednesday adopted by consensus a resolution endorsing efforts by Seoul and Pyongyang to advance the process of inter-Korean dialogue and reunification.

The resolution welcomed and backed the October 2-4 summit in Pyongyang between the North and South Korean leaders, only the second in the history of the communist North and capitalist South.

During the Pyongyang talks, South Korean President Roh Moo-Hyun and North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il called in a declaration for a nuclear-free peninsula and a treaty to formally end the 1950-53 Korean War.

Wednesday’s assembly resolution on “peace, security and reunification on the Korean peninsula” was jointly sponsored by the two Koreas, in a fresh sign of the warming ties between the two neighbors.

It described the Pyongyang summit as a “major milestone in improving inter-Korean relations and in advancing peace and common prosperity on the Korean peninsula and in the wider region as well.”

The 192-member assembly called on Seoul and Pyongyang to implement the summit declaration “fully and in good faith, thereby consolidating peace on the Korean peninsula and laying a solid foundation for peaceful reunification.”

The resolution invites UN member states to continue to assist “the process of inter-Korean dialogue, reconciliation and reunification so that it may contribute to peace and security not only on the Korean peninsula but also in northeast Asia and the world as a whole.”

UN chief Ban Ki-moon, a former South Korean foreign minister, thanked the assembly for its unanimous support for the resolution and offered “to provide every assistance required (by the parties).”

“I am convinced that the historic inter-Korean summit will pave the way for a permanent peace regime and eventual reunification,” Ban said.

“I also believe it will act as a catalyst for continued progress in the six-party talks on the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.”

Earlier Wednesday South Korea’s foreign minister Song Min-Soon said in Seoul that Pyongyang would take the first step towards completely abandoning its nuclear ambitions when work starts soon to disable its atomic plants.

“This is the first step for the North’s nuclear abandonment,” he told journalists, a day before the scheduled arrival in the North of a US disablement team.

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