"In my capacity as the Secretary-General of ASEAN, I would like to extend my deep condolences to the families of those innocent victims killed in the artillery attack on the Republic of Korea`s Yeonpyeong Island earlier this week. Such painful and unnecessary loss of lives should not have happened, and it could have been avoided if there were permanent peace on the Korean Peninsula," he stated.
Pitsuwan urged all governments concerned to exercise maximum self-restraint and refrain from unusual military movements that would increase tensions and lead to greater mutual distrust on the Korean Peninsula.
"I would like to further encourage all governments concerned to explore new and bolder ideas that will create just and comprehensive solutions to end the hostility and denuclearized the Korean Peninsula, as well as to facilitate reconciliation between the ROK and the Democratic People`s Republic of Korea (DPRK)," he said.
Since the ROK and the DPRK had acceded to the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia (TAC) and both were participating in the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), he said, North Korea and South Korea should refrain from the use of force or the threat to use force and to uphold the TAC`s principle of peaceful resolution of conflict and the ARF`s spirit of goodwill in cooperation for common benefit.
"Permanent peace on the Korean Peninsula is long overdue, and the absence of permanent peace is benefiting no one," Pitsuwan said adding that further escalation of the confrontation on the Korean Peninsula would derail the hard-earned economic recovery in East Asia at the time when the region should be benefiting from growth and prosperity.