ASEAN stresses self-restraint, non-militarization in South China Sea

Asean countries willing to have talks with China to avoid clashes

The Trump administration's attempts to pressure North Korea into abandoning its nuclear and missile ambitions have so far gained little traction, and Pyongyang has only stepped up its tests, launching two intercontinental ballistic missile tests last month.

"These developments seriously threaten peace, security and stability in the region and the world", said a joint statement".

While evaluating the efficiency of the COC in resolving conflicts at sea, Hang said the common benefits of all ASEAN members and regional countries is maintaining peace, security and stability in the region and the East Sea.

He also said, "Of course, we would like to urge other parties like the United States and South Korea to stop increasing tensions".

But Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs spokesman Robespierre Bolivar said at a news conference Saturday that there was no plan for those nations to meet on the sidelines of the Manila meetings.

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has skipped a dinner in the Philippines for foreign ministers that North Korea's top diplomat attended.

Philippine Foreign Secretary Cayetano and ASEAN Secretary-General Minh unveil the painting of the ASEAN founding fathers during the opening ceremony of the 50th ASEAN Regional Forum in Pasay city, metro Manila, Philippines.

Robespierre L. Bolivar, spokesman of the Philippines' Department of Foreign Affairs, said the foreign ministers "endorsed the framework of the code of conduct for eventual adoption at the ASEAN-China ministerial meeting on August 6".

North Korea's Ri Yong-ho told his Kang Kyung-wha in a meeting on Sunday that Seoul's proposal to improve ties with the North "lacks sincerity", the South's Yonhap News Agency reported on Monday.

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Tillerson said the support of China and Russian Federation for the latest sanctions sent a strong message to North Korea about what was expected of it.

"Discussions this year will focus on counter-terrorism, the Korean Peninsula, cyber security, and maritime issues", Mr Brownlee says. Despite that, Pyongyang has continued developing its nuclear and weapons program.

Ando said that ASEAN countries are completely within reach of these ICBMs, making the threat imminent.

The statement was issued separately, rather than included in ASEAN's customary communique at the end of the foreign ministers meeting.

"We emphasized the importance of non-militarization and self-restraint in the conduct of all activities by claimants and all other states", according to the short section on the South China Sea included in a 46-page communique.

The Philippines called the conclusion of talks between China and ASEAN to finalise the framework "a very big step".

Speaking to reporters, Singapore's Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan said of the framework: "This is an important document because it represents, in a sense, consensus and more important than that, a commitment on behalf of all the 10 Asean states and China to make progress on this long overdue issue".

A final copy of the framework seen by The Associated Press also did not mention whether the code should be legally binding, which most ASEAN states demand but China opposes, or the extent of disputed areas to be covered by such a code.

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