Seoul to work with Beijing and Tokyo at Six-Party talks on North Korea; South Korea and ASEAN settle on agreement on investment issues; Seoul to contribute $24 billion to regional foreign currency reserve pool
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  • South Korea, along with China and Japan, at a meeting in Pattaya in Thailand, agreed to continue pushing forward the agenda of the Six-Party talks aimed at realising the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. PM Wen of China urged that any action that may further complicate the situation should be avoided1.

    South Korea and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) meanwhile finalised an agreement regarding investment issues, an issue which had hampered their free trade talks. Towards signing a free trade pact, South Korea and ASEAN have had talks covering four areas of merchandise, services, investment and dispute settlement. While an agreement on merchandise came into effect in 2008, the deal on services will be enforced from May 2009. ASEAN is South Korea's fifth-largest trading partner, with bilateral trade reaching $53.5 billion in 20052.

    In other developments, ASEAN Secretary-General Surin Pitsuwan confirmed that South Korea will contribute $24 billion to the planned regional foreign currency reserve pool, as part of the Chiang Mai Initiative Multilateralization (CMIM) program3.