North Korea top of agenda at ASEAN meeting

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The separate joint statement by ASEAN foreign ministers released on Saturday indicated the grouping's growing concerns about the rising tension in the Korean Peninsula and solidarity among the member countries.

In a front page commentary on Monday, the overseas edition of the ruling Communist Party's official People's Daily said North Korea's open flouting of United Nations rules with its missile launches meant that it had to be punished, but sanctions had to be targeted to avoid hurting ordinary people or other countries.

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

The U.N. Security Council unanimously imposed new sanctions on North Korea on Saturday aimed at pressuring Pyongyang to end its nuclear program.

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson held a door open for dialogue with North Korea on Monday, saying Washington was willing to talk to Pyongyang if it halted a series of recent missile test launches.

China's Foreign Minister Wan Yi (sixth from left) links arms with ASEAN foreign ministers and their representatives during the signing of a memorandum of understanding on the ASEAN-China Center in Manila yesterday.

"Do not violate the UN's decision or provoke the worldwide society's good will by conducting missile launching or nuclear tests", Wang said.

The influential Global Times, published by the People's Daily, said it an editorial that the United States needed to curb its "moral arrogance over North Korea".

The Russian foreign minister was quoted as telling Kang, "The Russian government will cooperate with the South Korean government closely for their common goal of attaining a denuclearized Korean Peninsula through peaceful ways under the firm principle of never condoning North Korea's nuclear program".

"We recognized the benefits that would be gained from having the South China Sea as a sea of peace, stability and prosperity", they stressed.

Bolivar said the Philippines prefers a legally binding code of conduct but the consensus in ASEAN is that at the very least, the code that is still to be negotiated should be substantive and effective.

He added that the framework "will pave the way for the textural negotiations on the CoC in the coming year".

The 10-nation ASEAN may reach an agreement on how to depict their concern on the territorial disputes faster with language that will not include sensitive issues that China objects to, the diplomat said.

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

Moreover, Ando told reporters that Japan is concerned with the building of large scale outpost within the South China Sea.

While some have dismissed the framework as another attempt to move the goalposts in the definitive South China Sea COC negotiations, the framework represents a breakthrough for ASEAN centrality, which has been on display since a meeting in Bali earlier this year decided on the creation of a "zero draft".

"If there is no major disruption from outside parties, with that as the precondition, then we will consider during the November leaders' meeting, we will jointly announce the official start of the code of conduct consultation", Wang said.

Perhaps even more important, President Trump renounced the TPP.