SINGAPORE – North Korea's reclusive communist regime, long seen as a nuclear threat to the region, signed a nonaggression pact Thursday with Southeast Asia, in a largely symbolic move.
The move has no direct impact on the six-nation efforts to strip Pyongyang of its ability to produce nuclear weapons. However, it is a rare sign of reaching out to the international community by the highly secretive and isolationist country.
North Korea's Foreign Minister Pak Ui Chun signed the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation with the Association of the Southeast Asian Nations at a ceremony on the last day of the group's annual security conference.
The TAC, which came into force in 1976, requires signatories to renounce the use or threat of force and calls for the peaceful settlement of conflicts. Aside from the 10 ASEAN members, 11 other countries outside the regional bloc have signed up to the pact.
The signing comes amid moves by North Korea to dismantle its nuclear program in exchange for economic and political incentives, including normalization of ties with Japan and the United States.