US Secretary of State cites importance of tie-up with ASEAN

Thailand's Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha delivers his speech at the Prosperity For All Summit the parallel event of the 30th ASEAN Leaders Summit at metropolitan Manila Philippines on Friday

ASEAN Foreign Ministers Concerned Over Escalation on Korean Peninsula

During their meeting on the sidelines of the ASEAN Regional Forum, Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha and his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov hailed Resolution 2371, which they said would be a landmark achievement in shutting out financial resources for North Korea's weapons of mass destruction programs. Kang is thanking the USA for consulting with South Korea on the sanctions.

Ri's attendance at the summit could create an awkward tension for Tillerson, who has repeatedly emphasized the Trump administration's willingness to sit down with North Korea for negotiations — but only on the condition it abandon its nuclear aspirations.

Ando added Japan is willing to adopt the new resolution from the United Nation's Security Council (UNSC), which imposed strongest sanctions on the isolationist state for its missile tests. The three diplomats reportedly expressed their agreement that China needs to play a proactive role in resolving the North Korean nuclear issue.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Sunday stressed the importance of its affiliation with the 10-country Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

North Korea's foreign affairs minister denounced Seoul's offer for dialogue as "lacking sincerity" Sunday in the first personal encounter with his South Korean counterpart in Manila, another setback for President Moon Jae-in's drive to improve inter-Korean relations. Beijing praised Tillerson for declaring the USA wasn't seeking regime change in North Korea.

"It was a good outcome", he said with a smile.

Despite deeming North Korea a top security threat, the young Trump administration has struggled to find a strategy that differs significantly from what the US has tried in the past.

People's Republic of China Foreign Minister Wang Yi talks to North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho (2nd L), during a bilateral meeting at Manila, Philippines August 6, 2017.

Wang's bilateral talks with North Korea's Ri started off in a cordial way, with Ri smiling as the two shook hands.

Chinese exports of iron ore to North Korea increased 60 per cent in the first half of 2017, jumping shortly after United Nations sanctions on coal took effect in February. She says it was a "very, very good outcome".

China accounts for more than 90 percent of North Korea's external trade and has long avoided tough economic sanctions against the North, for fear that a collapse of the government would lead to a flood of refugees, as well as the North's reunification with the South, putting a close USA ally directly on China's border.

Pyongyang has carried out 14 missile tests since February this year.

"This kind of moral equivalency that's implied by the freeze for freeze, which is between the North Koreans shooting off missiles that are prohibited and our reasonably defensive exercises that we undertake in our alliance with the South Koreans to protect them from these launches, is not a reasonable kind of a trade", Thornton said.

China is providing a welcome boost to the global campaign to pressure North Korea to halt its missile and nuclear tests.

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