ASEAN slams North Korea over nuclear missiles test

Wednesday, 09 Aug, 2017

South Korean President Moon Jae-in and his US counterpart, Donald Trump, agreed to apply maximum pressure and sanctions on North Korea in a telephone call on Monday, while China expressed hope that North and South Korea could resume contact soon.

It was the first high-level encounter between the two Koreas since South Korea President Moon Jae-in took office in May and comes after the United Nations Saturday approved the "strongest sanctions ever imposed" in response to North Korea's missile testing.

The UN resolution proposes a ban on certain exports that could deprive Pyongyang of $1 billion in annual revenue.

Likewise, the ASEAN foreign ministers emphasized the importance of non-militarization and self-restraint in the conduct of all activities by claimants and all other states, including those mentioned in the Declaration of Conduct in the South China Sea that they said could further complicate the situation and escalate tensions in the region. It also prohibits countries from increasing the current numbers of North Korean laborers working overseas, bans new joint ventures with North Korea and any new investment in current joint ventures. All the ministers have acknowledged Beijing's crucial economic and trade relations with each of their countries, the diplomat said. Despite that, Pyongyang has continued developing its nuclear and weapons program.

He also said, "Of course, we would like to urge other parties like the United States and South Korea to stop increasing tensions".

ASEAN countries have argued that is hard since its members do not have substantive ties with North Korea. In a Twitter post, Trump said he was "very happy and impressed with 15-0 United Nations vote" on the sanctions.

"The reality is that the United States is now vulnerable to North Korea's nuclear-armed missiles - and has no choice but to live with that reality", nonproliferation expert Jeffrey Lewis wrote in an opinion piece for The New York Times Thursday.

Robespierre L. Bolivar, spokesman of the Philippines' Department of Foreign Affairs, said the foreign ministers "endorsed the framework of the code of conduct for eventual adoption at the ASEAN-China ministerial meeting on August 6".

"If there is an opportunity that naturally occurs, we should talk", Kang Kyung-Wha told reporters as she landed in Manila on Saturday, according to South Korea's Yonhap news agency.

In a midday conclave on Sunday with Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha of South Korea, Tillerson hailed in his typically understated fashion the United Nations vote, which could cost North Korea almost $1 billion a year, or about one-third of its foreign earnings. China has repeatedly said that while sanctions need to be imposed, they can not bring a final resolution to the North Korea issue, which has to be addressed by talks.

"We also support the positive proposals put forward by the new (South Korean) government".

"The atmosphere of this year is different from the past", Wang said.

As this year's rotating ASEAN chair, Manila hosts meetings of foreign ministers from 27 countries that include Australia, China, India, Japan, Russia, North and South Korea and the US.

In the same joint communique, the ASEAN foreign ministers also reaffirmed the importance of maintaining and promoting peace, security, stability, safety and freedom of navigation in and over - flight above the South China Sea.

"Vietnam is adamant, and China is effectively using Cambodia to champion its interests".

Last July 28, North Korea launched an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) into the Sea of Japan.