Saturday, 19 August, 2017

North Korea: Nuke, ballistic rockets non-negotiable

Southeast Asian nations feud over China sea claims FM Çavuşoğlu, Russia's Lavrov discuss Syria, bilateral ties at ASEAN summit
Melinda Barton | 13 August, 2017, 22:38

Alan Peter Cayetano said some countries wanted the South China Sea code to be legally binding, and China preferred only "binding".

President Donald Trump and South Korean President Moon Jae-in are sharing their concerns about North Korea.

It seems, however, that Vietnam nearly put a spanner in the works by attempting to push its own agenda during the meeting of ASEAN foreign ministers.

China on Sunday scored a diplomatic coup in its campaign to weaken regional resistance against its sweeping claims to the South China Sea when Southeast Asian nations issued a diluted statement on the dispute and agreed to Beijing's terms on talks. 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.

ASEAN ministers said in a communique Sunday they "warmly welcome improving cooperation" with China and are ready to begin substantive negotiation on the code of conduct, but made no mention of making it binding.

The sanctions resolution that China and Russian Federation voted for was the seventh the Security Council has imposed on North Korea since 2006, when the country carried out its first nuclear test.

"In this regard, I emphasized the importance of 2016 arbitral award and realize no militarization of disputed features", he said.

"Outside parties like the USA will do what they think is needed to promote peace and stability in the region", Glaser said.

North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho has brushed off South Korea's recent offer of talks as "lacking sincerity", revealing differences in the sides' positions over a restart of dialogue, South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha said Monday.

Yet despite deeming North Korea a top security threat, the young Trump administration has struggled to find a strategy that differs significantly from what the USA has tried in the past.

The UN Security Council voted on Saturday to impose fresh sanctions.

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

At the ASEAN-plus-three meeting, the 13 countries also discussed how to address threats from North Korea.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told his Singaporean counterpart Vivian Balakrishnan during a meeting in Manila on Sunday that ties had come back on track of late. Wang urged the United States and South Korea, as well as the North, not to increase tensions, saying the situation already is at a "critical point".

All throughout this week, the foreign ministers of the ten Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries - Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Brunei, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam, and the Philippines - will be meeting in Manila on a host of regional and global issues.

Zhang Baohui, a mainland security expert based in Hong Kong, said China questions whether Singapore is honest when it says it didn't want to choose between the United States and China.