Recent peace initiatives being taken by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) have "shocked" many as the foreign policy behaviour of the country has been fast changing after it conducted a nuclear detonation on October 9, 2006. However, later the country's decision to bring its nuclear programme under international supervision intensified the peace process of the Six-Party talks and virtually ended the US "award" of the "axis of evil" and writing off the country from the list of Terrorist States. DPRK has given a blueprint to the international community to verify its nuclear dismantlement steps being taken. More surprisingly, by signing the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation with ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) on July 24 during the annual gathering held in Singapore on July 20-24, DPRK has showed that it is keen to go ahead with other East Asian countries and others in promoting a common environment in the region hitherto remained divergent as a result of the Cold War divide. The 28-member ARF is a major security umbrella of East Asian countries involving major players such as the United States, Japan, China, Russia, Australia, Republic of Korea, and ASEAN member countries that came into being on July 25, 1994. The sole purpose of the regional forum was to foster constructive dialogue on the political and security issues of common interests, and to make contributions toward confidence building in the Asia-Pacific region. The other members of the regional forum are Bangladesh, Brunei, Cambodia, Canada, European Union, India, Indonesia, Democratic Peoples' Republic of Korea, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Mongolia, New Zealand, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Timor Leste, United States, and Vietnam. DPRK has joined the ARF in 2000 by becoming its 27th member. Long before a comprehensive security thinking that emanated from the ARF, ASEAN's Treaty of Amity and Cooperation came into force on February 24, 1976 signed by the ASEAN members at Bali (Indonesia). The treaty embodied the spirit of the 1955 Afro-Asian Conference held at Bandung (Indonesia), UN Charter, and ASEAN Declaration of 1967. The treaty requires signatories to renounce the use or threat of force and calls for the peaceful settlement of conflicts. Besides ASEAN members, 13 other countries have acceded to the treaty so far particularly 9/11 hastened the process of accession to the treaty. The treaty is considered to be one of the major successes of ASEAN ensuring a comprehensive security in South East Asia and beyond its immediate neighbourhood extended up to Oceania, North East Asia, Russian Far East, and South Asia. The 14 signatories to the treaty so far are ASEAN, Timor Leste, Papua New Guinea, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Republic of Korea, China, India, Pakistan, France, Mongolia, Russia, and DPRK. Some critics see the DPRK's move of signing of the non-aggression pact as a tactical and a symbolic rather than a "genuine" effort towards non-aggression. They say that the Stalinist-Communist reclusive kingdom has been trying to improve its secretive and seclusionist posture to reach to the outside world. Others would see the development as a part of the DPRK's leaderships perpetual strive for peace, stability, and tranquillity after the nuclear detonation and the success of the Six-Party talks. Whatever are reasons and motives behind the DPRK's signing of the treaty, a major peace initiative has been taken, which would eventually create further room for mutual cooperation and trust between the DPRK, its neighbours particularly with the Republic of Korea and Japan as well as with the United States of America, ASEAN, and other major signatories of the non-aggression pact. The Republic of Korea acceded to the treaty some three years and nine months ago before the DPRKs accession to the treaty. Therefore, the present move has been positively viewed in brining peace on the long divided Korean Peninsula (1950-53). It must be recalled here that the DPRK has decided to disband its weapons-grade plutonium-producing facilities at its Yongbyon nuclear base by the end of October and to allow site inspections to verify a last June Declaration of its nuclear programme installations. In return, DPRK would be given energy aid and diplomatic concessions. It is hoped that the basic non-nuclear objectives would be achieved before a new US Presidency takes its charge in January next. If viewed against this context, DPRK's signing the treaty clearly indicates a change of stance in its basic foreign policy behaviour, which is a welcome move by all accounts than doubting the good actions of the State for the bad. The ASEAN Regional Forum's call for an effective plan to verify DPRK's declaration of its nuclear programmes would not face any serious situation as the country has willingly signed the non-aggression treaty. While acceding to the treaty, DPRK's has quelled fears that prevailed among the nations in the region so long. With this signing, a major security irritant, which mainly affected Japan and the Republic of Korea, two major US strategic allies in the region, so long has virtually came to an end. It is now being ensured that the DPRK would not launch any aggressive action against them. This is a major accomplishment. Additionally, the process of assimilation of the DPRK with the ASEAN has been commenced somewhat similar to the assimilation of Myanmar with the Association in the 1990s. These moves are being positively viewed by the East Asians for a comprehensive security and larger economic cooperation. A former ASEAN Secretary-General Ong Keng Yong branded DPRK's decision to join the treaty as a "major diplomatic bonus" for the grouping as the country had been "traditionally sensitive and independent-minded toward international treaties." While welcoming the decision against the context of the Six-Party talks and settlement of the nuclear issue, K Kesavapany, Director of the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies in Singapore, remarked the DPRK's decision as "a welcome development," which "will add to the climate of peace and stability in Northeast Asia." In short, DPRK has come under the key regional security gathering by becoming the signatory from outside Southeast Asia that would be a major development boosting regional security particularly at a time when the world is facing the menace of terrorism and nuclearisation as a result of the "de fecto" recognition of India as a nuclear power by the United States of America and major ARF players including "unclearly pious" Japan. The DPRK's decision has indicated that instead of nuclearisation, comprehensive security and economic development should be given a priority in addressing world's issues of underdevelopment. The writer is research fellow (East Asia) at the Islamabad Policy Research Institute (IPRI)