Asean stresses South China Sea restraint

13 August, 2017, 22:39 | Author: Brenda Erickson
  • T091731Z_691160164_RC1E651D5C70_RTRMADP_3_ASEAN-PHILIPPINES-940x580

The PM highlighted the achievements that ASEAN has gained over the past a half century to become a strong and united community with rules-based operation and comprehensive and extensive connectivity across the fields, contributing to the maintenance of peace, stability, cooperation and development in the region. In this regard, the ministers welcomed the unanimous adoption of UNSC Resolution 2371 on August 5 which imposes a total ban on certain North Korean exports. "The member states must implement the resolution themselves even without us putting pressure for it".

Tillerson, speaking on the sidelines of a regional security meeting in Manila, said the execution and implementation of new United Nations sanctions would be carefully watched and the resolution sends a strong message that North Korea needs to understand what the world expects of it. The two both participated in other multilateral meetings in Manila, including one between China and the 10 Asean ministers. Even with new United Nations sanctions in place meant to drive Pyongyang back to the table, conditions still aren't ripe for talks, USA diplomats said.

After the ASEAN meeting, China's foreign minister had called out "some countries" who voiced concern over island reclamation.

The three countries issued a joint statement after U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop and Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono met in the Philippines on the sidelines of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) ministerial meeting. Beforehand, he had called at the Security Council for countries to cut diplomatic and financial ties with Pyongyang.

ASEAN groups Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam, which all have diplomatic relations with North Korea. All countries are now banned from importing North Korean coal, iron, lead and seafood products, and from letting in more North Korean laborers whose remittances help fund Kim Jong Un's regime.

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Kōno expressed hopes that China and ASEAN will draw up a binding and effective code of conduct in the sea at an early date after the two sides adopted the framework of the code earlier on Sunday.

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.

Tensions on the Korean Peninsula and the other security-related issues are expected to be discussed at other meetings between ASEAN and members of ARF in Manila that run through Monday. With the Philippines cosying up to Beijing under President Rodrigo Duterte, Vietnam is now the loudest claimant criticising Chinese expansion in the waters. The two primary issues at the formal sessions are North Korea and the South China Sea. But a commentary in the ruling party's Rodong Sinmun newspaper said Washington had disregarded the warning the North sent with its intercontinental ballistic missile tests and was pursuing "desperate efforts" in the form of stepped-up sanctions.

Should those talks occur, they would be the first military-to-military dialogue in three years. Beijing praised Tillerson for declaring the US wasn't seeking regime change in North Korea. Beijing frequently accuses the USA of meddling in what it says is an Asian dispute that should be resolved only by the countries involved.

Seoul had recently tested the missile shield successfully amid tests carried out by North Korea.

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