Jiji Press MANILA (Jiji Press) — A statement issued on Tuesday by the chairman of a Manila ministerial meeting of the ASEAN Regional Forum showed “grave concern” over recent developments related to North Korea, including its firing of intercontinental ballistic missiles last month.
The ICBM launches on July 4 and 28, as well as North Korea’s previous ballistic missile launches and its two nuclear tests in 2016 “have resulted in a major escalation of tensions that can affect peace and stability in the entire region and beyond,” the statement said.
The meeting among ministers from 27 countries and region, including the 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, Japan, the United States, China, North Korea, South Korea, Russia and the European Union, was held in the Philippine capital on Monday. The ARF is for discussions mainly on security issues in the Asia-Pacific region.
The chairman’s statement noted that the ministers urged North Korea to “immediately comply fully with its obligations” under relevant U.N. Security Council resolutions. “Some ministers reiterated their support for the complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula in a peaceful manner, called for the exercise of self-restraint and underscored the importance of creating conditions conducive for dialogue to de-escalate tensions,” it added.
The statement also said, “Some ministers emphasized the importance of addressing humanitarian concerns, including the immediate resolution of the abductions issue,” implicitly referring to North Korea’s kidnapping of Japanese nationals decades ago.
On the South China Sea situation, the statement stopped short of directly mentioning China’s moves to build military footholds there. It said the ministers “took note of concerns expressed by some member states.”
In this light, they reaffirmed the importance of enhancing mutual trust and confidence, exercising self-restraint in the conduct of activities and avoiding actions that may complicate the situation, and pursuing the peaceful resolution of disputes, without resorting to the threat or use of force, in accordance with universally recognized principles of international law.Speech