SEOUL, March 16 (Yonhap) -- The foreign ministers of South Korea and Sri Lanka have agreed to work together in pressuring North Korea into giving up its nuclear weapons program, the foreign ministry here said Thursday.
South Korea's Yun Byung-se and Sri Lanka's Mangala Samaraweera also shared the understanding that North Korea's recent series of ballistic missile launches pose a serious threat to the peace and security of the Asia-Pacific as well as the entire international community during their talks in Colombo a day earlier, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.
They denounced the use of an internationally banned chemical weapon in the assassination of the half brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Malaysia last month. The Malaysian police concluded several North Korean men, including a Kuala Lumpur-based diplomat, were behind the killing on Feb. 13.
"Sri Lanka will stick to its stern stance to join the international community's sanctions efforts on North Korea, including the faithful implementation of United Nations Security Council resolutions on North Korea like Resolution 2321," the foreign ministry quoted the Sri Lanka minister as saying.
He also stressed that Sri Lanka will stand on the South Korean side over the North Korean issues, agreeing to step up collaboration with Seoul at the U.N. and other international venues.
This year alone, North Korea test-fired two sets of ballistic missiles in violation of UNSC resolutions, drawing condemnation from its neighbors and the world.
Yun voiced appreciation for the Sri Lanka government's sanctions implementation efforts against North Korea, including its confiscating of a sum of dollars North Koreans tried to carry through the South Asian country last year.
Two North Koreans were detained in March last year at a Colombo airport while they were illegally trying to move US$150,000 in cash from Oman to China through the Sri Lanka capital.
Drawing on economic collaboration, the two ministers also agreed to work more closely for South Korean companies to join Sri Lanka's large-scale infrastructure building projects, including a city development project in the western capital area, the ministry said.
The Sri Lanka side expressed gratitude for South Korea's pledge to provide $500 million in official development assistance annually over the three years, a hike from the previous $200 million per year.
During the visit to mark the 40th anniversary of bilateral diplomatic relations, Yun also paid courtesy calls on Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and President Maithripala Sirisena, the ministry added.