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ASEAN bloc 'gravely concerned' about Korean tensions

13 August 2017

CBN News Asia Correspondent Lucille Talusan says U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson's presence at the meeting put the ASEAN leaders at ease and reassured them of America's involvement and commitment to the region.

"China is the nation that could turn the lights out once and for all in North Korea". His counterparts from Seoul and Pyongyang also are in attendance and briefly spoke at a gala dinner Sunday night.

Ri hasn't spoken publicly since arriving in the Philippines.

Tillerson says the US has "other means of communication" open to North Korea if the country wants to express to the USA a desire to talk. Those tests sharply escalated US fears that Pyongyang is a key step closer to mastering the technology needed to strike American soil with a nuclear-tipped missile.

In a statement carried by the North's state-run Korean Central News Agency, North Korea's government said the sanctions were a "violent infringement of its sovereignty" that was caused by a "heinous USA plot to isolate and stifle" the country. All countries are now banned from importing North Korean coal, iron, lead and seafood products, and from letting in more North Korean laborers whose remittances help fund Kim Jong Un's regime. The resolution also bans countries from giving any additional permits to North Korean laborers, another source of foreign currency for the North, and prohibits all new joint ventures with North Korean companies. Tens of thousands of them return hard currency to the increasingly isolated regime.

"We felt the readiness of our USA colleagues to continue dialogue", Lavrov said.

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Susan Thornton, acting U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, said China's support for sanctions showed it recognised the gravity of the situation, but it was incumbent on Beijing to ensure they were implemented.

North Korea's consultative council for national reconciliation warned South Korea against supporting the adoption of economic sanctions at the United Nations Security Council. China, which is a permanent member of the UNSC with a veto power, opted to vote for the sanctions. Very big financial impact!

China has repeatedly said it was committed to enforcing increasingly tough United Nations resolutions on North Korea, though it had also said what it terms "normal" trade and ordinary North Koreans should not be affected.

"In the face of North Korea's increasingly sophisticated nuclear and missile threats, more frequent communications regarding the problem will be very helpful", Kang said late on Monday at the start of a bilateral meeting with her Japanese counterpart Taro Kono in Manila, as quoted by the Yohap news agency.

It will be the first such meeting since U.S. President Donald Trump took office in January.

'It is not easy, but it is a direction that we need to work together towards, ' he said. It is one of the rare regional platforms where the North sends its top representative.

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But the United States has long said it would agree to talk only if North Korea agrees to denuclearization - something many analysts believe is unlikely with North Korea's weapons program having progressed as far as it has.

The measures were approved unanimously - including by China, the North's sole major ally and economic lifeline, and Russian Federation. "At the end of the day, it will take more than sanctions". It has long accused the United States and South Korea of escalating tensions by conducting military drills. Yang of the University of North Korean Studies said the Trump administration is lacking in the strategy department. "They never have and likely never will".

The United States has remained technically at war with North Korea since the 1950-53 Korean conflict ended in an armistice rather than a peace treaty.

The two countries should seriously think about how to define the bilateral relations for the next 50 years based on current successes, the USA diplomat said.

"China is the essential player", Lefkowitz said.

Tillerson is offering his most specific outline to date of what preconditions the US has for talks with Pyongyang.

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ASEAN bloc 'gravely concerned' about Korean tensions