SE Asian ministers endorse sea code framework

  • SE Asian ministers endorse sea code framework

SE Asian ministers endorse sea code framework

Japan's Kyodo News reported that the ASEAN foreign ministers on Saturday expressed grave concerns over the escalation of tensions on the Korean Peninsula due to the North's two intercontinental ballistic missile tests last month.

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, ' the ministers said in a statement.

There was no direct reaction from North Korea to Tillerson's remarks but in a statement after the USA secretary of state made his comments, Pyongyang responded robustly to the new sanctions by saying it was ready to teach the United States a "severe lesson" if it attacked.

North Korea sees its weapons program as the key to preventing US-led attempts at regime change, and the July missile tests showed Pyongyang may have passed an important threshold in its quest to obtain the ability hit the U.S. with a nuclear warhead.

The joint communique was supposed to be released on Saturday following the 50th ASEAN Foreign Ministers Meeting, plenary session and retreat but was stalled because of the failure of the ministers to reach a consensus.

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

Japan urges the ASEAN to the increase of pressure on North Korea amid its nuclear and weapons program, the deputy press secretary of the Japanese Foreign Ministry said Sunday.

"If there is a chance, I would tell him that we must have dialogue and that the North must stop the continuous provocations", South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung Wha told reporters upon arrival in Manila.

With the Philippines serving as host to ASEAN, the country's about-face lifted a significant cloud over China, with only Vietnam reportedly continuing to insist that the group condemn Beijing's actions.

The foreign ministers also welcomed in the statement the adoption of a framework Code of Conduct (COC) in the South China Sea which has been agreed with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi.

"We have agreed upon and approved the COC framework".

The Philippines calls the framework a major step in efforts to ease potential flashpoints. "But the framework will hopefully pave the way towards meaningful and substantive negotiations towards the conclusion of a COC".

"We look forward to the operationalization of the joint statement on the observance of the Code for Unplanned Encounters at Sea (CUES) in the South China Sea", the foreign ministers pointed out.

The COC is supposed to be the legally binding version of the non-binding Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC).

With the situation "stable and (with) no interference from external parties", negotiations could begin when the leaders of Asean and China meet again in the Philippines in November, Mr Wang added, in reference to the Asean Summit. They said they have tasked senior officials to start negotiating on the Code of Conduct with China.