Korean peninsula issues discussed by Ban Ki-moon and DPR Korea ambassador

Korean peninsula issues discussed by Ban Ki-moon and DPR Korea ambassador

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Ambassador Pak Gil Yon of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) met today to discuss peace and security issues affecting the Korean Peninsula.

At the meeting held in Mr. Ban’s office in New York, the Secretary-General repeated his support for the Inter-Korea Summit scheduled to be held later this month in Pyongyang between DPRK leader Kim Jong-Il and Republic of Korea President Roh Moo-Hyun.

Mr. Ban told Mr. Pak that he hopes it will yield a successful outcome, according to his spokesperson Michele Montas.

“In this connection he emphasized the importance of the Six-Party Talks and expressed his hope for a smooth implementation of the February joint statement,” she said.

Those talks – which took place in Beijing among the two Koreas, Japan, Russia and the United States – culminated in an agreement on dismantling the DPRK’s nuclear weapons facilities and the return to the country of UN International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspectors over four years after they were ordered out after the DPRK withdrew from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

Last month, IAEA inspectors confirmed that five nuclear facilities in the DPRK have been shut down.

In today’s meeting, Mr. Ban “reaffirmed the United Nations’ readiness to offer help or assistance towards a peaceful, nuclear-free, prosperous Korean peninsula,” said Ms. Montas.

The two agreed to continue dialogue on cooperation in concert with Member States.

Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Mr. Ban said he hopes the summit meeting “will provide much firmer and stronger groundwork for the promotion of national reconciliation between the South and North, as well as further expand the scope of exchanges and cooperation, which will eventually lead to common peace and security on the Korean Peninsula.”

During the meeting with Mr. Pak, the spokesperson said the Secretary-General also voiced sympathy for the victims of heavy flooding in DPRK and pledged the UN’s continued help in coordinating the aid effort with the international community.

In a related development, the UN World Food Programme (WFP) reported that UN agencies were invited by the DPRK’s Government, in a preliminary request for assistance, to jointly survey the situation in the wake of the floods.

The assessment mission, in which WFP, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the UN World Health Organization (WHO) participated, today visited one of the four affected provinces. Assessments are expected to continue for two more days to identify the needs of those impacted.