Monday, 25 May 2009

Vietnam adds its voice to denunciations of North Korea test

Hanoi - Vietnam's government Monday joined those of Sweden, Japan and others attending the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) in Hanoi in denouncing North Korea's second nuclear test. A statement released by Vietnam's Foreign Ministry Monday evening said Hanoi was "deeply concerned" by the North Korean nuclear test. It said the test "only complicates the situation, and does not serve the interests of peace and stability in the region."

Vietnam is one of the few countries that still maintains cordial relations with North Korea, and officials from Pyongyang visit here on a yearly basis.

The Vietnamese statement added to growing support at the ASEM Foreign Ministers' meeting for a strong response to the North Korean test.

Earlier in the day, Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Kazuo Kodama said his country would press other ASEM governments to issue a separate statement criticizing the North Korean move.

Swedish Minister for Foreign Affairs Carl Bildt issued a statement decrying the North Korean efforts to "provoke the international community."

Chinese and South Korean diplomats reportedly met with their North Korean counterparts at a location separate from the conference, but they issued no public comments.

The ASEM meeting had intended to concentrate on ways for Europe and Asia to cooperate in fighting the global financial crisis and engendering economic recovery. But the meeting appeared increasingly derailed by the North Korean move, which clearly occupied much of the diplomats' time on Monday.

Earth Times

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