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Sunday, August 6, 2017

N Korea urged to exercise self-restraint!

MANILA: Foreign ministers from the Association of South-East Asian Nations (Asean) on Saturday called on North Korea to “exercise self-restraint” and stop its missile tests that threaten the region’s peace and stability.
Tensions on the Korean Peninsula have overshadowed discussions in the annual Asean ministerial meetings in Manila, which was being held as the regional bloc was to mark its 50th founding anniversary on Tuesday.
The ministers of the 10-member regional bloc expressed “grave concerns over the escalation of tensions in the Korean Peninsula” following Pyongyang’s ballistic missile launches in July.
“These developments seriously threaten peace, security and stability in the region and the world,” the ministers said in a statement. “We strongly urge (North Korea) to immediately comply fully with its obligations under all relevant UN Security Council Resolutions.”“We reiterate our support for the complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula in a peaceful manner, call for the exercise of self-restraint, and underscore the importance of creating conditions conducive for dialogue to de-escalate tensions,” they added.
The issue was also likely to top the agenda when Asean ministers meet with their dialogue partners, including the United States, Japan, China and Russia, for Asia’s largest security forum on Monday.
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was expected to galvanise condemnation of North Korea and call for a “serious discussion” on suspending the country from the Asean Regional Forum (ARF) as part of efforts to further isolate Pyongyang.
In their statement, the Asean ministers did not address the possible US proposal for excluding North Korea from the ARF but called on Pyongyang to “positively contribute” to realising the forum’s vision of maintaining Asia and the Pacific “as a region of lasting peace, stability, friendship and prosperity.”
“We support initiatives to improve inter-Korean relations towards establishing permanent peace in the Korean Peninsula,” they added.
“Asean stands ready to play a constructive role in contributing to peace and stability in the Korean Peninsula.”
Asean comprises Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar.
At the start of the ministerial meeting, Philippine Foreign Minister Alan Peter Cayetano said Asean has become known for being a platform for “peaceful settlements of disputes.”
“Despite the fact that sometimes there are complicated and sensitive matters between us… we have found a way to live peacefully and give our region peace and stability,” he said, citing Asean’s principles of dialogue, consensus, cooperation and non-interference.
During their meeting, the Asean ministers were expected to endorse a framework that would guide negotiations between the regional grouping and China for a code of conduct in the South China Sea.
— dpa

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