Kim Chung Song speaks to Anadolu Agency during first North Korean parliamentary delegation visit to Turkey.
A parliamentarian from the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) said he was "very optimistic about the future relations between" his country and Turkey.
Kim Chung Song, a member of the DPRK's Supreme People’s Assembly (SPA), told Anadolu Agency:
"There are many things in common between the independent foreign policy of Turkey and DPR Korea."
His remarks came during their first visit to Turkey as a parliamentary delegation at the Asian Parliamentary Assembly (APA) 10th plenary session held in Istanbul.
"There has been very little exchange of mutual visits" between the two countries, Kim said, adding, "but I think it is a good beginning."
The North Korean parliamentarian said they were "watching attentively what is happening in Turkey."
"So, we know that how President [Recep Tayyip] Erdogan is behaving for the sake of the country."
Praising Erdogan, Kim said: "President Erdogan is a very independent statesman."
He said he "personally" likes Erdogan's "independence policies" and added, "All these good feelings and the commonality of foreign policy can be very solid foundations for future relations."
On North Korea's foreign policy, he said it was "based on three pillars: independence, peace and friendship."
'21st century is century of Asia'
Describing the Korean peninsula as "the eastern gateway to the Asian continent", Kim said the gateway was very weak last century due to the wars between Asian nations.
"In this respect, making ourselves strong enough to defend this gate is a great contribution to the region," Kim said.
According to the politician, the Asian continent is composed of individual countries, and every country has a responsibility, citing a saying: "If every one cleans the ground in front of their houses, then the whole village will be clean."
"First of all, every country must fulfill its responsibility by defending itself by not surrendering to big powers and to foreign pressure."
He said there were some countries who could and wished to do it but "can not because they are so weak in terms of economy and military."
He also rejected the idea of "leading countries" and said:
"Our point is very clear; there are big countries and small ones; there are developed countries and underdeveloped ones. There can be no country that should lead the others."
Pointing out that every country is "independent and equal to each other," he said, "No big power should impose its own way of life upon others."
"This must be the rule of justice in the international arena."
Regarding the global shift from west to the east which he said is also reflected in the strategies of the United States, Kim said:
"Everyone knows that they [US and Europe] are shifting all the strengths to this region [Asia], but why? Because the 21st century is the century of Asia."
He said "who holds hegemony over Asia can hold sway of the world", and added there were few states "who can say no to the United States."
'No sanction on any Asian country'
North Korea’s missile and nuclear weapons program accelerated in 2016, when it exploded two underground nuclear bombs and also launched 21 missiles.
The country has been accused of violating UN Security Council resolutions and of creating a “grave threat to international peace and security in the region and beyond".
The U.S. is again designating North Korea a state sponsor of terrorism, President Donald Trump announced on Monday as Washington continues to lead an international campaign to halt Pyongyang’s ballistic missile and nuclear programs.
Designated countries face "restrictions on U.S. foreign assistance; a ban on defense exports and sales; certain controls over exports of dual use items; and miscellaneous financial and other restrictions," according to the State Department's website.
Kim opposed to the "illegal sanctions against a certain country" saying, they "have to be lifted" to ensure peace and development.
He read out from the draft resolution of the 10th plenary session of the Asian Parliamentary Assembly (APA), which he said was "unanimously adopted."
The related part of the resolution "concerns very strongly about the use of sanctions or any mechanisms of financial and economic pressure on APA Member States applied for political purposes."
"And the sanctions against the DPRK is one of them," he noted, and said:
"This unanimous voice of the APA must be heard by those powers who are going to strangle our country and our people."
'Turkey can do it well'
Regarding Turkey's APA chairmanship for the next two years, Kim said he had high hopes for Turkey’s contribution to the organization during its presidency.
"I am sure and I believe that Turkey can do it well," Kim said. "I am impressed by the Turkish hospitality and by the way the Parliament of Turkey has operated this important plenary."
Turkey took over the APA presidency from Cambodia. The APA will convene with Ismail Kahraman, speaker of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey, as APA president until 2019.
Istanbul hosted the three-day working program which discussed cooperation on social, economic, cultural, and political affairs under the theme "Sustaining Peace and Development in Asia."
Delegations from APA member parliaments, including Afghanistan, Bangladesh, China, India, Indonesia, Iran, Pakistan, Palestine, Russia, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE, took part in the meeting.
The North Korean parliamentarian said:
"If all these Asian countries come to become united for the sake of Asia, not for the sake of individual interest, if all countries value common interests above differences, then it will be easier for Asia to become more peaceful."