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ASEAN issues strong rebuke, warning to North Korea

08 August 2017, 12:53 | Myrtle Vega

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The issue was also likely to top the agenda when ASEAN ministers meet with their dialogue partners, including the United States, Japan, China and Russian Federation for Asia's largest security forum on Monday.

Kang and Ri will attend the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) to be held late in the day where the North's nuclear and missile threats will be high on the agenda.

Tensions on the Korean Peninsula have overshadowed discussions at the annual Association of South-East Asian Nations ministerial meetings in Manila, which were being held on Saturday as the regional bloc was to mark its 50th founding anniversary.

Kono's debut on the world stage came after the U.N. Security Council on Saturday imposed fresh sanctions on North Korea that will slash the nation's $3 billion of annual export revenue by a third in response to Pyongyang's two long-range missile tests in July.

China has urged calm and restraint from all countries involved in the standoff. Paynor said member states as well as neighboring countries like South Korea and New Zealand are expected to attend the leaders' summit.

Philippine Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano, who is chairing the Manila meetings, said on Friday ASEAN would not consider expelling North Korea from the ARF.

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As he made his global debut in Manila on Sunday, newly appointed Foreign Minister Taro Kono agreed with his regional counterparts to put more pressure on North Korea to abandon its nuclear and missile ambitions.

"I don't know what they discussed, but I support that", Wang told reporters, adding he believes North Korea is not categorically rejecting the South Korean proposals. He left Pyongyang on Saturday and was en route to Manila, the North's official KCNA news agency reported.

China's top diplomat says talks for a nonaggression pact aimed at preventing clashes from erupting in the disputed South China Sea may start this year if "outside parties" don't cause a major disruption. The North has not responded to the overtures.

ASEAN groups Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam, which all have diplomatic relations with North Korea.

"We, the Foreign Ministers of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, reiterate our grave concerns over the escalation of tensions in the Korean Peninsula including the most recent testing by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) of intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM) on 4 and 28 July 2017 and previous ballistic missile launches and two nuclear tests in 2016", they said in a statement issued after their meeting.



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