World Media

North Korea top of agenda at ASEAN meeting

South China sea row China Association of Southeast Asian Nations, ASEAN

MILITARIZATION of the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) should be avoided by all claimant countries and other states so as not to complicate the situation in the disputed territories, foreign ministers of the Association of the South East Asian Nations (Asean) said in its joint communiqué on Monday.

Wang sidestepped a question on whether China's support for the new North Korea measures were conditional on Washington ceasing to impose further unilateral sanctions and stopping its investigations of Chinese firms doing business with Pyongyang.

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says the approval of new United Nations sanctions targeting North Korea over its nuclear and ballistic missile programs is a "very good outcome".

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.

The United States said it would also seek to build unified pressure on the North at the Manila event - known as the ASEAN Regional Forum. The sanctions could slash North Korea's $3 billion annual export revenue by a third.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has no plans to hold talks with Ri in the Philippines, his aides have said, but could meet him inside one of the meetings.

"There is no bigger mistake than the United States believing that its land is safe across the ocean", the KCNA report added.

ASEAN countries have argued that is hard since its members do not have substantive ties with North Korea.

-South Korean military drills, Wang said.

South Korea's former foreign minister Yun Byung-se also talked briefly with Ri at the same forum a year ago.

ASEAN is calling on North Korea to "exercise self-restraint" and stop its missile tests that threaten the region's peace and stability.

"The Chinese side urged the North Korean side to calmly handle the resolutions. and to not do anything unbeneficial towards the global community such as a nuclear test", Wang said. While the North now boasts missiles it says can reach major US cities, it is not believed to have mastered the ability to cap them with nuclear warheads, but that step may not be far off.

In a front page commentary on Monday, the overseas edition of the ruling Communist Party's official People's Daily said North Korea's open flouting of United Nations rules with its missile launches meant that it had to be punished, but sanctions had to be targeted to avoid hurting ordinary people or other countries. "We've not had an extended period of time where they have not taken some type of provocative action by launching ballistic missiles", Tillerson said.

"Imposing fresh sanctions is aimed at bringing the conundrum back to the negotiation table", China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi said.

"After the implementation of the resolutions, the Korean peninsula issue enters into a critical juncture", Wang told reporters on the sidelines of the ASEAN meeting in Manila.

ASEAN foreign ministers also issued a joint statement condemning the missile tests and calling for "the complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula".