South Korean Defense Minister Jeong Kyeong-doo attends the 18th Shangri-La Dialogue held in Singapore, June 1, 2019. South Korean and Japanese defense ministers and the EU high representative for security expressed optimism about the positive developments on the Korean Peninsula over the past one and a half years here on Saturday at the 18th Shangri-La Dialogue. (Xinhua/Then Chih Wey)
SINGAPORE, June 1 (Xinhua) -- South Korean and Japanese defense ministers and the EU high representative for security expressed optimism about the positive developments on the Korean Peninsula over the past one and a half years here on Saturday at the 18th Shangri-La Dialogue.
During a plenary session, South Korean Defense Minister Jeong Kyeong-doo said the two summits between leaders of the United States and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) and the three inter-Korean summits have greatly alleviated military tension in the region.
He also hailed the significant achievements of the Panmunjom Declaration signed by South Korean President Moon Jae-in and DPRK's top leader Kim Jong Un in 2018, in which the two sides agreed to a complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, and the comprehensive military agreement signed by the two militaries which led to the alleviation of military tensions in border areas.
Although the Hanoi summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and Kim in February failed to reach an agreement, Jeong said it was still a meaningful event showing that open and candid discussion can be held between the two leaders.
"In order to hold on to this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for denuclearization, it's important to continue the momentum of dialogue generated through the summit talks," Jeong said, adding that the DPRK also needs to be assured of "a bright future of peace and prosperity."
He asked for patience in the denuclearization talks as the mistrust built in the past 70 years can't be cleared in just one and a half years. He also called on the international community to lower sanctions against the DPRK, and to provide humanitarian aid.
For his part, Japanese Defense Minister Takeshi Iwaya said that peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula is "extremely important" for Japan and Japan is optimistic.
He said the policy of the Japanese government concerning the DPRK remains unchanged. "Japan seeks to normalize its relations with North Korea (DPRK) through a comprehensive resolution over outstanding issues of concern," including nuclear, missile and history issues, he said.
Japan supports the diplomatic approaches to the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula in recent months, Iwaya said, adding that he believes collective results of the international community's efforts could serve as an "important basis" for DPRK-U.S. talks.
Reaffirming that the denuclearization goal should be "peacefully achieved by diplomatic efforts," Iwaya said Japan will offer assistance to unleash the DPRK's potential for a better future if it takes the right path.
EU's High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini said Asia's security also matters to Europe, and EU countries have been working more closely with ASEAN nations, including military cooperation.
The EU believes that lasting peace on the Korean Peninsula is possible and such peace can only be achieved by diplomatic means, Mogherini said, adding that the denuclearization process must be complete, irreversible and verifiable.
She said the engaged sides are getting much closer than before and "the EU is ready to do its part in negotiations resilient against shocks."
Noting that sanctions on the DPRK are just means to a goal, not a goal itself, the official said the EU can offer financial support to the denuclearization process as a leverage.
Also at the plenary session, U.S. special representative to the DPRK Stephen Biegun said enormous progress has been made on the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, and China and Russia cooperatively contributed to the goal.
The U.S. government remains engaged with the DPRK through diplomacy, avoiding provocation, continuing to close gaps and making further progress, he said.
The 18th Shangri-La Dialogue opened in Singapore Friday evening to discuss the security situation and its challenges in the Asia-Pacific.
Defense ministers, security experts and diplomats from different countries gathered in the city-state to share their views on Asia's evolving security order and its challenges, cyber-capability development, new patterns of defense cooperation, among other topics.