SOUTH Korea is hoping a multilateral security pact in northeast Asia will help reduce the danger of China posing a military threat to the region, according to its Foreign Minister Dr Han Sung-joo. Speaking in Hong Kong before flying to Beijing last night, he said Seoul did not want to see China become a military threat, but added ''we are not losing sleep over that''. ''That's one reason why we need to have arms control in northeast Asia to build credibility and to have better communication, understanding and dialogue. And that's why we think it is useful to have a multilateral framework to discuss these issues.'' Speaking at a luncheon held by the local branch of the New York-based Asia Society, a non-government body promoting understanding between the US and Asia, Dr Han said the time was right for the establishment of a multilateral security framework to promote peace and stability in the region. However, he said, there was no concrete plan to convene a formal discussion. Dr Han said Pyongyang should be encouraged to take part in the process ''once the critical nuclear question is resolved''. ''Isolation, even when it is self-imposed, is a source of danger to neighbouring nations.'' He indicated China's interest in the Korean peninsula ''largely converged'' with that of South Korea: both nations needed a peaceful and stable environment. The two countries could build upon this fundamental premise to find ways to engage Pyongyang in the regional and global order. Dr Han is to meet Foreign Minister Qian Qichen, President Jiang Zemin, Prime Minister Li Peng and economic and trade ministers during his five-day visit. He is expected to repeat Seoul's concerns over North Korea's nuclear programme. However, Dr Han said he had no specific action to suggest to Chinese leaders on the nuclear issue, but added Beijing had a strong interest in a demilitarised peninsula. Without naming China, he warned against ''excessive and premature'' concerns about the ''armament buildup'' in some countries. ''We might have some sort of self-fulfilling prophesy when talking about particular countries re-arming themselves.''