China stages navy drills after North Korea launch

Mr. Roberto F. de Ocampo

Mr. Roberto F. de Ocampo

LISA DESJARDINS: From U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, also at the Manila forum, a very different tone, stressing possible dialogue, but only if Pyongyang stops missile tests.

Cambodian Foreign Minister Prak Sokhonn (Front) speaks during a press conference in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, on August 9, 2017.

The foreign ministers held their first talks on Monday in Manila, where both arrived for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) ministerial meeting.

The annual security dialogue draws in 27 countries, including North and South Korea, the United States, China and Russian Federation.

BANG KWANG HYUK, Spokesman, North Korean Delegation (through interpreter): We affirmed that we will never place our nuclear and ballistic missiles program on the negotiating table and won't budge an inch on strengthening nuclear armament.

"In view of this positive momentum, we reaffirmed our readiness to begin the substantive negotiation on the COC and tasked our senior officials to start the negotiation on the COC with China", the joint communiqué said.

Hours before the statement, the us presented a draft United Nations resolution calling for toughening sanctions on North Korea with a sweeping ban on exports of coal, iron, lead and seafood that could deprive Pyongyang of $1 billion in annual revenues.

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At the same forum a year ago, South Korea's former foreign minister Yun Byung-se also talked briefly with Ri. Tillerson is here to attend the 50th ASEAN Foreign Ministers Meeting and its Dialogue Partners.

Take the North Korea conundrum, for instance. Kang also said she "felt it was an occasion where North Korea acutely sensed its isolated diplomatic position". "The ministers noted the significance of the UNCLOS dispute settlement regime and the Tribunal's decision in discussions among parties in their efforts to peacefully resolve their maritime disputes in the SCS".

US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis told Vietnamese counterpart Ngo Xuan Lich in Washington on Tuesday that a strong defence relationship was based on common interests that included freedom of navigation in the South China Sea. She says in the past, there's been a pattern in which China complies with sanctions after a North Korean provocation, but then slips back over time.

The ASEAN foreign ministers meeting earlier made no mention of the ruling that was brought to the Hague by the Philippines.

Adding to the drumbeat of criticism, the commander of US forces in the Pacific, Adm. Harry Harris, said Monday that the code of conduct negotiations with an "aggressive" China will be a key challenge for the region.

Reuters reported that the code agreed upon was "hailed as progress" by the foreign ministers of countries involved, but "seen by critics as tactic to buy China time to consolidate its maritime power".

They urged Pyongyang to immediately comply fully with its obligations under all relevant UN Security Council Resolutions.

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