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(Yonhap Interview) Panama pledges solidarity with S. Korea on N. Korean nuke issue: VP

2017/09/01 08:44

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By Park Bo-ram

BUSAN, Sept. 1 (Yonhap) -- Panamanian Vice President Isabel de Saint Malo expressed her country's solidarity with South Korea on the efforts to denuclearize North Korea, pledging Panama's commitment to implementing international sanctions on Pyongyang.

"Panama is a country that has historically promoted peace and historically been against nuclear proliferation, and we have condemned the development of nuclear proliferation. We expressed that to the prime minister and the foreign minister," the Panamanian vice president who doubles as the foreign minister said in an interview with Yonhap News Agency on Thursday on the sidelines of the Forum for East Asia-Latin America Cooperation (FEALAC).

Panamanian Vice President Isabel de Saint Malo (Yonhap) Panamanian Vice President Isabel de Saint Malo (Yonhap)

Ahead of her attendance at the forum in Busan, she met with South Korea's Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon and Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha earlier in the week in Seoul.

"We took the opportunity on these meetings to express to South Korea Panama's solidarity on the question of the Korean Peninsula," the vice president-cum-foreign minister noted.

Panama is a country that abides by its international commitment, she said, stressing her country's pledge to faithfully implement United Nations Security Council sanctions resolutions imposed on North Korea.

"As the ministry of foreign affairs, we are responsible for transmitting to other institutions in Panama every time there are new sanctions. And we take action immediately, for example, with maritime authorities in Panama, open registry for ships, Panama canal ... and the regulators of the banking system," according to the minister. "We remain committed to the implementation of any international sanctions in this regard."

   She also lauded the Busan Declaration adopted at the closure of the FEALAC foreign ministers' meeting Thursday. The statement approved by foreign ministers and their deputies from 36 East Asian and Latin American countries made a reference to North Korea's recent ballistic missiles launches, expressing their "grave concern." It was the first time a joint FEALAC declaration, usually focused on economic and cooperation issues, has referred to the North Korean security issue.

South Korean Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon (R) shakes hands with Panamanian Vice President Isabel de Saint Malo at the Government Complex Seoul on Aug. 30, 2017. (Yonhap) South Korean Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon (R) shakes hands with Panamanian Vice President Isabel de Saint Malo at the Government Complex Seoul on Aug. 30, 2017. (Yonhap)

The Panamanian vice president gave her full support for the action, saying, "Panama completely agrees with the importance of the Busan Declaration, making the reference to the rising tensions on the Korean Peninsula and expressing the condemnation."

   The official also promoted her country as "an ideal place" for South Korean companies to establish their regional offices for Latin America, shedding light on business opportunities between her country and South Korea.

"Panama makes an ideal place for companies to establish their regional offices to cover Latin America and the Caribbean due to our very strong port system, the canal and very strong air hub that we have in Panama that connects to over 90 cities with direct flights," she said. "We are a country with very important capabilities in terms of logistics and maritime systems so there is some knowledge that we could share with other regions."

  

South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha (R) shakes hands with Panamanian Vice President Isabel de Saint Malo at the ministry building in Seoul on Aug. 29, 2017. (Yonhap) South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha (R) shakes hands with Panamanian Vice President Isabel de Saint Malo at the ministry building in Seoul on Aug. 29, 2017. (Yonhap)

pbr@yna.co.kr

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