MEP Deva new chair of EP-Korea delegation: 'anything is possible'
During its first meeting in the European Parliament in Brussels this morning, Nirj Deva (Conservative MEP for the South East of the UK) was officially confirmed as the new Chairman of the European Parliament’s Delegation for relations with the Korean Peninsula.
In relation to his appointment today Mr Deva said:
“This is a very important time where we find ourselves at the cusp where anything is possible. Here in the European Institutions we have witnessed a number of positive developments in the last few weeks especially in relation to our dialogue with North Korea and I am confident that in this present moment there a number of things the EU can do as an interlocutor in this conflict externally to the framework provided under the six party talks”.
Mr Deva who is also the Vice President of the European Parliament’s International Development Committee said:
“In relation to North Korea, issues such as food security, human rights, humanitarian assistance and the development of a stable political dialogue are all on the table and as Members of this Delegation we have a unique opportunity for engagement with the North Koreans with regards to these issues”.
Created at the beginning of the 6th Parliamentary term in 2004, the Delegation for Relations with the Korean Peninsula covers relations with both the Republic of Korea (RoK, South) and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK, North). Today the delegation is comprised of 10 Members of European Parliament and aims to enhance relations and maintain communication channels with both countries under its framework.
Mr Deva’s appointment comes at very crucial time especially with regards to recent developments between the EU and North Korea, including the visit of Kang Sok Ju the Secretary and Director of the Korean Workers’ Party International Affairs Department who in recent weeks visited Brussels and met with senior EU officials, and Nirj Deva. Mr Kang’s visit was later followed up by the visit of the Honourable Hak Bong Hyon, the North Korean Ambassador to the United Kingdom who also met with Mr Deva in Brussels and discussed the willingness of the North Korean administration to re-open the human rights dialogue with the EU.
EU relations with South Korea are governed mainly under two key agreements including The EU-South Korea Framework Agreement (FA) (2010) which addresses a wide range of topics, including non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, human rights, cooperation in the fight against terrorism, climate change, energy security and development assistance; and The EU-South Korea Free Trade Agreement (FTA) (2011) which is aimed at integrating the European and Korean economies and removing barriers to trade between the two partners.