United Nations to vote on additional sanctions on North Korea

Thailand's Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha delivers his speech at the Prosperity For All Summit the parallel event of the 30th ASEAN Leaders Summit at metropolitan Manila Philippines on Friday

The joint statement issued after the latest ASEAN foreign ministerial meeting did not mention China by name, only emphasizing the importance of "non-militarization" of the South China Sea.

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) foreign ministers have opened a regional meeting in the Philippines capital Manila, expressing grave concern on Saturday about rising tensions on the Korean peninsula.

The ministers condemned in the strongest terms North Korea's unlawful pursuit of a nuclear weapons program and unprecedented ballistic missile activity since a year ago, including the launches of intercontinental ballistic missiles on July 4 and July 28, 2017.

"These developments seriously threaten peace, security and stability in the region and the world", the ministers said in their statement.

Just hours before the meetings were due to start, the UN Security Council voted unanimously to back a US-drafted resolution to dramatically tighten the existing sanctions targeting North Korea. Wang said the two had "an intensive conversation", and in unusually strong terms, he later urged North Korea to show restraint.

Speaking at the ceremony, Philippine Secretary of Foreign Affairs Alan Peter Cayetano emphasised that after 50 years, ASEAN has risen to be a prestigious regional association and a trusted partner of many countries.

In a press briefing held Tuesday, Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha also said that the Seoul government could secure support from ASEAN countries in its approach toward the North that focuses on not only sanctions and pressure but also talks aimed at easing tensions. The ministers supported the establishment of a new ASEAN Regional Forum Inter-Sessional Meeting on Security of and in the Use of Information and Communications Technologies (ARF ISM on ICTs) as a dedicated global forum for advancing cyber cooperation among member states. ASEAN, which was founded to strengthen the bonds of solidarity and cooperation between the countries of the organization, plays an important role in regional security and boasts close ties with China, Korea, Japan, the United States, and the European Union.

Keen attention is placed on North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho's remarks during the meeting.

North Korean's top diplomat says "under no circumstances" will it put its nuclear weapons or ballistic missiles on the negotiating table.

On August 3, before Wang was to attend the summit, China's foreign ministry had already sent positive signals toward the ASEAN summit.

China and South-East Asian countries may start negotiations on a code of conduct in the disputed South China Sea this year if there is "no major disruption" from outside parties, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said Sunday. The second step would be to have all parties meet to explore the thinking, principles and plan for the next stage of COC discussions at a working group meeting to make necessary preparations to reach a consensus between ASEAN and China.

He dismissed the U.N. Security Council sanctions approved Saturday as illegal, appearing to rule out talks that the Trump administration, in a diplomatic partnership with China and Russian Federation, is offering North Korea as a way out of its economic and diplomatic pariah status.

In what two diplomats involved said was another victory for Beijing on Sunday, ASEAN members declined to say in their joint statement that the hoped-for code of conduct with China be "legally binding".

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