India calls for better inter-Korean ties, peaceful resolution of 'nuclear issue'
India on Wednesday reiterated its support for peace and stability in the Korean peninsula following the Ninth India-Korea Joint Commission Meeting co-chaired by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha.
"I reiterated government of India's continued support to the efforts being made by (South Korean) President Moon (Jae-in) to address the Korean nuclear issue and promote inter-Korean ties through dialogue and negotiation, and expressed our sincere hopes that these efforts will bear fruits to usher in a new era of peace and stability in the Korean peninsula," Sushma Swaraj said in a joint address to the media with Kang following the meeting.
Kang said both sides shared their views on the situation in the Korean peninsula "and resolved to work closely together and maintain consultations for complete denuclearisation as well as lasting peace in the Korean peninsula".
"Minister Swaraj welcomed the Korean government's efforts for peace in the Korean peninsula and expressed continued support," she said.
Both leaders also discussed regional and global issues of common interest and cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region.
"I conveyed to Foreign Minister Kang that India sees ROK (Republic or Korea or South Korea) as an indispensable partner in its Act East policy and in its vision of the Indo-Pacific," Sushma Swaraj said.
"We both acknowledged the complementary aspects of India's Act East Policy and ROK's New Southern Policy that creates a natural synergy for strengthening and creating new avenues for our cooperation, including in the wider region," she said.
"We agreed on the importance of a free, open, peaceful and rules-based order as being essential for achieving our common goal of peace, stability and prosperity in our shared region and beyond."
While New Delhi's Act East Policy seeks to increase India's engagements with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) regional bloc, Seoul's New Southern Policy, announced by President Moon in November last year, seeks to make Asean a diplomatic and economic partner as important as the global superpowers.
Kang said after Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to South Korea in 2015 during which the bilateral relationship was elevated to that of a Special Strategic Partnership, "our bilateral relationship is rising to a new level with the synergy generated by President Moon's New Southern Policy and Prime Minister Modi's Act East Policy, as well as visits to India by President Moon in July and First Lady Kim in November this year".
The two leaders also discussed cooperation in various sectors as also increasing bilateral trade and investment.
"We noted a number of tangible progress made in the fields of defence, economic engagement, consular matters and other areas of our functional cooperation," Sushma Swaraj said.
Stating that there was satisfaction over the growth in bilateral trade and investment over the past two years, she said both sides agreed to redouble their efforts to realise the vision of Modi and Moon to raise the quantum of bilateral trade to $50 billion by the year 2030.
"We shared the view that early conclusion of ongoing negotiations to upgrade our bilateral Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) and implementation of trade facilitation measures already agreed upon will help us move towards this target," Sushma said.
"We also explored new avenues of Korean investment in India's infrastructure modernisation," she stated. "We encouraged Korean companies, known for their technological feats and global outlook, to create newer opportunities by partnering in the government of India's flagship initiatives such as Make in India, Skill India, Digital India and Smart City."
The External Affairs Minister also said that both sides discussed the potential cooperation in the energy sector.
(With inputs from agencies.)