ASEAN slams North Korea over nuclear missiles test

Missile test

"We strongly call upon (North Korea) as a participant of the ASEAN Regional Forum, to positively contribute to realise the ARF vision to maintain the Asia-Pacific as a region of lasting peace, stability, friendship and prosperity", ASEAN said.

The Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) and China hailed the adoption on Sunday of a negotiating framework for the code of conduct (COC) as progress towards preventing disputes.

The meetings will take place as the United Nations Security Council votes this weekend on a US-drafted resolution to toughen sanctions against North Korea to punish the isolated regime for its missile and nuclear tests.

Meeting Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono on the sidelines of a regional security forum in Manila on Monday, Wang urged Japan to respect the efforts of China and ASEAN countries and play a more constructive role for regional peace and stability.

A chairman's statement will be issued at the end of the forum.

The ASEAN ministers failed to release the joint statement as expected after meeting on Saturday due to their differences on the sea issue, with Vietnam pushing for tougher language and Cambodia lobbying hard for China.

Bolivar said the Philippines prefers a legally binding code of conduct but the consensus in ASEAN is that at the very least, the code that is still to be negotiated should be substantive and effective.

The lobbying occurred when the Asean foreign ministers held unscheduled and informal talks late on Friday night. "Maybe, by tomorrow everything will be ironed out", said one diplomat involved in the drafting process. However, China unilaterally started work to build artificial islands and military facilities in that sea area, and this has prompted ASEAN to advocate devising a pertinent code of conduct at an early date.

The case, brought against China by the Philippines, seemed like a turning point in China's disputes with a host of regional players, including Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Taiwan and Vietnam.

The Philippines' transformation under President Rodrigo Duterte - from ASEAN's harshest critic of Beijing to a relatively lenient partner - has done much to disrupt the bloc's coordination on the South China Sea issue.

Cambodia had reportedly resisted mentioning China's land reclamation in the statement, but Vietnam wanted tough language.

Cayetano, in his opening speech, stated how remarkable and relevant the signing of the ASEAN Declaration remains even up to this day.

"You have to excuse my voice as, my colleagues, we kept each other up until nearly midnight last night".

The pact would group China with the 10 ASEAN members plus India, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand. Furthermore, Wang pointed out that "China has completed the landfill two years ago".

Another pressing issue in Manila will be the growing terrorism threat in the region.

The top USA diplomat says the United States has been providing the Philippines with surveillance capabilities, training, information and aircraft to help it fight a monthslong siege of a southern city by pro-Islamic State group militants.

Interestingly, when asked which country they trust to "do the right thing" in contributing to global peace, security, prosperity, and governance, the big victor was Japan, with 62 percent of respondents indicating confidence in Japan's goodwill, with the U.S., China, and India all garnering between 20 percent and 30 percent confidence from respondents.

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