UPDATE : 2019.10.18 FRI 15:52
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Jeju peace forum to open amid stalemate in U.S-N.K. nuke talks

An international peace forum will open on the southern resort island of Jeju on Wednesday, with a focus on ways to facilitate North Korea's denuclearization and entrench a lasting peace on the peninsula, organizers said.

The three-day Jeju Forum for Peace and Prosperity comes as Seoul seeks to create fresh momentum for the resumption of the now-stalemated nuclear negotiations between Washington and Pyongyang.

Under the main theme of "Asia Towards Resilient Peace: Cooperation and Integration," the annual forum will bring together hundreds of government officials, scholars and civic activists from across the world, its organizer, the nonprofit Jeju Peace Institute, said.

The opening ceremony of the Jeju Forum for Peace and Prosperity is in progress at the International Convention Center on the southern resort island of Jeju on June 27, 2018, in this photo provided by the island's provincial government.

Among the participants are former U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, former Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, former Austrian President Heinz Fischer and former Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama.

"At this juncture, we need to discuss ways to establish a permanent peace mechanism to settle disputes in the region through peaceful means," Kim Bong-hyun, the chief of the institute, said.

"Resilient peace is an end product of the mechanism. Once the mechanism starts to effectively operate, a regional resilient peace will be established," he added.

In three special sessions on the North's denuclearization, experts will explore ways to break a logjam in the nuclear talks that have been stalled since the no-deal summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Hanoi in February.

The Hanoi summit broke down as they failed to bridge gaps over the scope of Pyongyang's denuclearization and Washington's sanctions relief.

The special sessions will be attended by former and current nuclear envoys, including Seoul's incumbent chief nuclear negotiator, Lee Do-hoon, and former U.S. officials, including Robert Gallucci and Joseph Yun.

Aside from the security issue, the forum will also discuss cybersecurity, Asian economic integration and prospects for Seoul's New Southern Policy aimed at deepening ties with India and the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

On Thursday, Unification Minister Kim Yeon-chul will host a gala dinner.

Since its launch in 2001, the forum has grown into a regional multilateral dialogue platform for promoting sustainable peace and prosperity on the peninsula and beyond. It became an annual event in 2011 after it had been held biennially.

Kang Sumok  edt@koeapost.com

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