Jakarta. A delegation of scholars and experts from several Asian countries are set to visit North Korea next week, where they are scheduled to meet with North Korean officials and figures to discuss hot-button issues in the region.
The visit comes as tensions are seemingly on the decrease on the Korean Peninsula, and North Korea appears willing to engage with members of the international community.
In a statement issued on Wednesday (28/03) night, the Foreign Policy Community of Indonesia (FPCI) said the delegation will be comprised of eight members from Cambodia, Indonesia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam and New Zealand.
"The purpose of the visit is to engage the DPRK [Democratic People’s Republic of Korea] in a discussion on contemporary issues faced by the region," the statement said, adding that the discussions will also touch on economic development.
The visit – which will take place from April 3 to 7 – was initiated by FPCI founder and former Indonesian deputy foreign minister Dino Patti Djalal, who will also lead the delegation.
Members of the delegation aim to share their respective country’s experiences during the meetings with representatives of the North Korean government and organizations, which will be held at the Kim Il-Sung University in Pyongyang, North Korea.
Indonesia-North Korea Relations
Relations between Indonesia and Korea date back to Sukarno’s presidency. The two countries established diplomatic ties in 1961, and have official representations in each other’s capital.
Indonesia is one of the few countries that still maintains relations with the isolated country, despite international sanctions against North Korea throughout the years.
North Korea’s first leader Kim Il-sung visited Indonesia in 1965, a visit that was reciprocated years later, in 2002, by former President Megawati Soekarnoputri.
However, Indonesia has maintained its position for denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula through dialogue and engagement, and has condemned North Korean nuclear tests.
Indonesia has been using its close relations with North Korea to help maintain peace, security and stability on the Korean Peninsula.
According to data from the United Nations Comtrade, Indonesia's export value in 2015 to North Korea was worth $1.4 million, mostly from residual vegetables and soaps. While Indonesia import volume from North Korea was worth $1.42 million.