ASEAN foreign ministers reiterate "grave concerns" over North Korea's missile launches
As the 50th Association of Southeast Asian Nations Foreign Ministers Meeting (AMM) opened on Saturday in Manila, the regional bloc issued a statement reiterating "grave concerns" in the situation in the Korean Peninsula due to North Korea's series of ballistic missile launches.
The issuance of the statement came hours before the arrival early Sunday of North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho to attend the 24th ASEAN Regional Forum on August 7 at the Philippine International Convention Center in Pasay City.
"These developments seriously threaten peace, security and stability in the region and the world," the ASEAN foreign ministers' statement read.
The recent developments include the July 4 and 28, 2017 testing of intercontinental ballistic missiles and previous ballistic missile launches and two nuclear tests in 2016.
The ASEAN foreign ministers "strongly" urged the Democratic People's Republic of Korea to immediately comply fully with its obligations under all relevant U.N. Security Council Resolutions.
"We strongly call upon the DPRK, as a participant of the ASEAN Regional Forum, to positively contribute to realise the ARF Vision to maintain the Asia-Pacific as a region of lasting peace, stability, friendship and prosperity where States and organizations, both within and outside the region work in a spirit of mutual trust, appreciation and respect to overcome security threats and challenges and prevent escalation of potential conflicts with a view to creating an environment conducive to sustainable development, social progress and improved quality of life for all peoples in the region," the statement said.
The Southeast Asian foreign ministers reiterated their support for the "complete, verifiable, and irreversible denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula in a peaceful manner, call for the exercise of self-restraint, and underscore the importance of creating conditions conducive for dialogue to de-escalate tensions."
They also expressed support on the initiatives to improve inter-Korean relations towards establishing permanent peace in the Korean Peninsula.
ASEAN expressed readiness to play a constructive role in contributing to peace and stability in the Korean Peninsula.
Last April, when the Philippines hosted the ASEAN Leaders' Meeting, the 10-Southeast Asian countries also issued a similar statement against North Korea's rocket launches. Celerina Monte/DMS