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Indonesia could consider sending envoy to mend frozen Korean ties
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18:05, May 30, 2009

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Indonesia, which has diplomatic relations with both Koreas, could consider sending a special envoy to the peninsula to help mend the fractured ties between the two nations, South Korea's news agency Yonhap reported on Saturday.

"While we believe the six-party talks can do better, we could consider sending an envoy to help bridge and try to bring something in a positive way," Nicholas Dammen, Indonesia's ambassador to South Korea was quoted by Yonhap as saying in an interview.

Dammen said that relations between South Korea and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), which have been going downhill since the inauguration of the President Lee Myung-bak government in Seoul, further slipped after the DPRK conducted its second nuclear test Monday.

Seoul responded by announcing its participation in a U.S.-led non-proliferation initiative, and Pyongyang counteracted by threatening military action along the inter-Korean sea border, he added.

According to Dammen, Indonesia has longstanding ties with the DPRK dating from the era of President Sukarno, who developed a special personal friendship with the DPRK's late founding leader, Kim Il-sung, the father of current leader Kim Jong-il.

However, the ambassador underscored that a special envoy may only be considered when requested simultaneously by both sides. In the past, Jakarta designated Nana Sutresna, a retired career diplomat, as the country's special envoy to the Korean Peninsula.

"We believe that the six-party talks is a good forum to reactivate (talks to denuclearize the DPRK). But the six-party talks is rather static (at the moment)," the ambassador said, referring to the negotiations participated in by the two Koreas, the U.S., China, Russia and Japan.

On the DPRK's recent nuclear test, the envoy said that Indonesia is concerned, but also noted the country's sovereignty.

Indonesia is a member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), and will participate in a special summit next week at South Korea's southern resort island of Jeju. The summit marks the 20th anniversary of dialogue partnership between South Korea and the regional body.

Source: Xinhua

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