Bolstered by UN, nations step up bid to isolate North Korea

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Bolstered by UN, nations step up bid to isolate North Korea

"We commend Singapore for playing a positive and constructive role in advancing China-Asean relations", Mr Wang Yi told reporters after meeting Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan on the sidelines of a meeting of regional foreign ministers in Manila.

The sanctions move played out as foreign ministers from across Asia gathered Sunday for a regional summit in the Philippines, where concerns about North Korea were already dominating the agenda.

The ARF is an annual security gathering involving foreign ministers from almost 30 nations including China, Japan, South Korea, the United States and the ASEAN members.

He stressed that sanctions are needed but they are not the ultimate goal, adding the goal is to bring the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula back to the negotiating table.

"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.

Still, Thornton says China's vote for the sanctions is a good step that shows Beijing understands the gravity of the problem.

The gathering comes after the United Nations Security Council adopted a fresh sanctions resolution against the North for its two intercontinental ballistic missile launches last month.

It prohibits all new joint ventures with North Korea, bans new investment in current joint companies and adds nine North Korean officials and four entities including the North's main foreign exchange bank to the United Nations sanctions blacklist. That prompted South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha to correct him slightly. They smiled amiably and made small talk but ignored a reporter's question about how the fresh USA sanctions against Russian Federation that President Donald Trump signed last week would affect their talks. "It is all about how we see their attitude toward approaching a dialogue with us".

"We hope again that this ultimately will result in North Korea coming to a conclusion to choose a different pathway, and when the conditions are right that we can sit and have a dialogue around the future of North Korea so that they feel secure and prosper economically", Tillerson said at the news conference. Kang is thanking the USA for consulting with South Korea on the sanctions.

"They're nearly going from sanctions to embargo and really trying to slam the North Korean economy", Delury said. "I think there's no alternative to that".

Southeast Asian states have long sought to persuade China to sign up to an enforceable code for the strategic waters, something Beijing has so far avoided.

Delegates are working to establish the framework for a code of conduct in the South China Sea that would reaffirm respect for the freedom of navigation and overflight, and outline how to arbitrate disputes.

According to informed sources at the Manila meetings, this is the first time that ASEAN will issue three statements on the Korean Peninsula - a separate joint statement, a joint communique and a chairman statement from the ASEAN Region Forum.

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