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S. Korea foreign minister says tensions in Asia should not block cooperation.

NEW YORK, Sept. 26 Kyodo

South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung Se said Wednesday in New York that historical and territorial disputes in Asia should not prevent countries from working together, an apparent allusion to his country's soured relations with Japan.

Though Yun did not mention Japan directly in his speech at the Korea Society, his comments come at a time when South Korea-Japan relations are at a low point due to a nagging territorial dispute and different perceptions of shared history.

Recognizing that "historical and territorial tensions" have hampered political and security cooperation in the region, Yun said "they should not be the reason why we cannot start a trust building process in our part of the world based on...common interests."

Yun highlighted South Korean President Park Geun Hye's Northeast Asia Peace and Cooperation Initiative, a plan to increase trust among regional players starting with less sensitive issues such as the environment.

"This initiative will not exclude any key country in the region. It will include all stakeholders, including Japan," he said.

Yun also emphasized that the Park administration's strategy on North Korea is to extend trust while working with the United States and China to produce solid gains in the denuclearization process.

"North Korea should change both its mindset and its mischievous behavior by itself, but if North Korea cannot change on its own, we need to foster a unified environment in which North Korea has no choice but to change," he said.
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Publication:Asian Political News
Date:Sep 30, 2013
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