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ASEAN ministers decry North Korea's missile tests

Patricia Lourdes Viray - Philstar.com
ASEAN ministers decry North Korea's missile tests

ASEAN foreign ministers walk for the opening ceremony of the 50th ASEAN Foreign Ministers Meeting at the Philippine International Convention Center Saturday, Aug. 5, 2017 in suburban Pasay city, south Manila, Philippines. They are, from left, Retno Marsudi of Indonesia, Anifah Aman of Malaysia, Alan Peter Cayetano of the Philippines, Vivian Balakrishnan of Singapore, Pham Binh Minh of Vietnam, ASEAN Secretary General Le Luong Minh and Lim Jock Seng of Brunei. AP/Bullit Marquez, Pool

MANILA, Philippines — Foreign ministers of the member-states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations called on North Korea to comply with its obligations under the United Nations Security Council Resolutions following its recent missile tests.

The foreign ministers on Saturday released a statement expressing concern over the escalation of tensions in the Korean Peninsula.

The statement came after Pyongyang's testing of intercontinental ballistic missiles on July 2 and 28 and previous ballistic missile launches and two nuclear tests last year.

"We reiterate our support for the complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearisation 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," the ministers said.

North Korea, however, will remain a participant of the ASEAN Regional Forum despite Washington's call to have Pyongyang be suspended from the security forum which will be held in Manila.

Aside from the United Nations, the ARF is the only venue for countries and regional blocs such as the US, China, Russia, North Korea, South Korea, Australia, Japan, the European Union, ASEAN and other dialogue partners to discuss issues face-to-face.

READ: US moves to have North Korea suspended from ASEANPhilippines rejects US call for North Korea expulsion

"We strongly call upon the [Democratic People's Republic of Korea], as a participant of the ASEAN Regional Forum, to positively contribute to realise the ARF Vision to maintain the Asia-Pacific as a region of lasting peace, stability, friendship and prosperity where States and organisations, both within and outside the region work in a spirit of mutual trust, appreciation and respect to overcome security threats and challenges and prevent escalation of potential conflicts with a view to creating an environment conducive to sustainable development, social progress and improved quality of life for all peoples in the region," the statement read.

The ministers stressed that North Korea's activities threaten peace, security and stability in the region.

The developments in the Korean Peninsula have been one of the topics discussed during the welcome dinner that Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano hosted for his Southeast Asian counterparts on Friday. During his opening speech on Saturday morning, Cayetano revealed that he and his colleagues were discussing regional issues until midnight.

According to sources, the ASEAN foreign ministers discussed what action they will have to execute as far as North Korea is concerned. Any action would have to comply with the core principles of the regional bloc.

RELATED: ASEAN ministers argue over national interests at welcome dinner

Last May, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and the ASEAN foreign ministers agreed on tighter sanctions against Pyongyang.

The top diplomats of the ASEAN and the US discussed the tensions caused by North Korea's nuclear tests and missile launches which pose a threat to regional stability.

Both Tillerson and North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho will attend the ASEAN-related forums in Manila but have no plans to meet.

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