India-ROK agree to conclude negotiations on CEPA by 2007 end

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New Delhi, Sep 17 (UNI) India and South Korea today resolved to cooperate in various multi-lateral fora and conclude negotiations on a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) by the end of this year.

External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee and his South Korean counterpart Song Min-soon, who co-chaired the Fifth India-South Korea Joint Commission Meeting (JCM) here today, expressed determination to strengthen bilateral relations through implementation of understandings and agreements under the 'Long-term Cooperative Partnership for Peace and Prosperity' reached during the State visit of South Korean President to India in October 2004.

Mr Mukherjee arrived in Seoul yesterday on a three-day official visit to the Republic of Korea at the invitation of Mr. Song Min-soon and co-chair the JCM.

The two Ministers held one-on-one meeting and co-chaired the 5th ROK-India Joint Commission...The Minister also called on South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun and Mr. Im Chae-jung, Speaker of National Assembly, and met Mr Kim Jang-soo, Minister of National Defence.

An External Affairs Ministry spokesman here said the two Ministers discussed ways to enhance bilateral relations and further develop cooperation on regional and international issues of mutual interest.

They reiterated their readiness to cooperate in regional and multi-lateral frameworks like the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF).

They shared the view that the East Asia Summit (EAS) could play a significant role in expanding regional cooperation and community building in the region.

Welcoming the participation of the Republic of Korea as an Observer at the 14th SAARC Summit in New Delhi in April 2007 they agreed that this would enhance regional linkages between SAARC countries and the East Asian region.

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