Paet: Korea Peninsula Must Remain Nuclear Weapon Free

Foreign Minister Urmas Paet concentrated on important security issues, including North Korea’s nuclear and missile tests, but also on fighting against piracy and on maritime and cyber security in his speech at the Asian-European foreign ministers’ meeting (ASEM) in Hanoi, Vietnam.

According to Foreign Minister Paet, North Korea’s pursuit of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles has to be condemned because it threatens peace and international security. “In a situation where the international community still has questions about the distribution of nuclear weapons in North Korea the steps made by North Korea today are leading towards deeper distrust,” emphasized Paet. “It is necessary for North Korea to adhere to and to honour UN resolutions and also to adhere to the six-party declaration on limiting nuclear weapons concluded between China, Japan, South Korea, North Korea, the USA and Russia,” added Paet. The six-party declaration was made on 19th December in 2005.

Fighting against piracy was also discussed at the meeting. According to the Estonian Foreign Minister more vigorous activities should be used in order to fight piracy. “We need an international agreement about the ways of handling detained pirates, about proper court proceedings, and appropriate punishments,” said Paet. “Even more decisive measures have to be taken to deter piracy: armed protection teams should be allowed aboard cargo ships and a proper legal basis for responses in cases of attack has to be created,” added Paet.

The Foreign Minister emphasized that more co-coordinated co-operation between international actors is needed in order to fight against piracy off the Somali coast and in the Gulf of Aden. “Co-operation with Asian countries is also important,” said Paet.

Maritime security issues were also under discussion. Paet stated the need to improve the maritime safety and environmental protection of the Baltic Sea. “The Baltic Sea has some of the busiest maritime traffic in the world. There are about 2000 ships daily on the Baltic Sea. Pollution caused by an accident would cause irreparable harm to the sensitive sea environment and it would have long-term consequences on fishing, tourism and trade,” said Paet.

Paet also talked about cyber security. “The cyber threat does not recognize any borders, hence international co-operation in assuring cyber security is very important,” stressed Paet. According to Foreign Minister Paet the lack of a legal framework for controlling cyber space puts many countries in the world with huge information and communication technology potential in a difficult position. “The use of technology for ill purposes, for example for industrial espionage or for cyber terrorism, must receive more focused attention by the international community,” added Paet.

ASEM is a vital forum for dialogue between Europe and Asia. The Asia-Europe Meeting has been the main multilateral channel for communication and dialogue between Asia and Europe since 1996. ASEM involves virtually the whole of Asia and Europe. The 45 ASEM partners represent half of the world’s GDP, almost 60% of the world’s population and 60% of global trade.

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