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China asks US, North and South Koreas to exercise restraint

China asks US, North and South Koreas to exercise restraint

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, meeting with North Korea's top diplomat during the gathering in Manila, urged the North to "maintain calm" despite the United Nations vote.

Tillerson is in Manila for an annual summit hosted by Southeast Asian countries collectively known as ASEAN.

China's territorial disputes in the strategic and potentially oil- and gas-rich waterway with five other governments intensified after it built islands in disputed waters and reportedly started to install a missile defense system on them, alarming rival claimant states, the USA and other Western governments.

The situation in the South China Sea should also be "generally stable", he said.

"It's not that easy but it is a direction we need to work together towards", Wang said of the six-nation talks.

On the territorial disputes in the South China Sea that embroil ASEAN members Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam, the 10 foreign ministers on Saturday approved a framework of a long-proposed code of conduct aimed at preventing clashes in the disputed waters, Bolivar said.

While China has had robust economic ties with Southeast Asia, a diverse region of more than 600 million people with a combined GDP of $2.4 trillion, both have tangled for years over the territorial conflicts.

The US is also pushing for tougher steps in its latest UN Security Council resolution, which could be voted on as soon as Saturday.

Wang made the statement here on the sidelines of a series of foreign ministers' meetings, in response to a question regarding the new UN Security Council resolution over North Korea's testing of intercontinental ballistic missiles in July, Xinhua news agency reported. Critics, however, say the framework serves only as a brief outline of previously agreed principles and fails to mention concerns over China's newly built islands or an arbitration ruling past year that invalidated Beijing's claims to virtually all of the South China Sea. An unwieldy bloc of democracies, monarchies and authoritarian regimes, the regional grouping decides by consensus, meaning just one member state can shoot down any proposal.

Cambodia wanted its sentiments on the Korean Peninsula better reflected in the ASEAN foreign ministers' joint communique, stalling its issuance Saturday, the diplomat said, adding that Cambodia's stance may have been influenced by China.

With the U.S., Japan and South Korea expected to push for stronger actions against the North, a verbal showdown looms. 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.

Foreign ministers of South Korea and China will hold talks in the Philippines on Sunday to discuss North Korea and other pending issues, according to Seoul officials.

Speaking at the 15th ASEAN-India Foreign Ministers' Meeting at Manila, Minister of State for External Affairs V K Singh said in the last 50 years ASEAN had put behind it numerous post-decolonisation debates of the region and navigated the Cold War adeptly to usher in an era of high economic growth that served as a model to others.