North Korea top of agenda at ASEAN meeting

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Trump national security adviser stresses North Korea threat

Ministers they are ready to begin talks on the Code of Conduct, a process that is expected to start this year.

All the afore-mentioned achievements testify to the fact that China and ASEAN have the wisdom and capability to properly manage the disputes, formulate a set of regional rules that we all recognize, and preserve peace and stability in the South China Sea, according to the Chinese foreign minister.

"When the situation in the South China Sea is generally stable, if there is no major disruption from outside parties", he said.

The Philippines is hosting the annual Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Regional Forum on August 7, Asia's biggest security forum.

"Regarding what kind of COC will be produced, that is up to the discussion by the 11 parties of Asean plus China", he said.

While the Asean foreign ministers have endorsed a framework code of conduct on the West Philippine Sea-as Manila refers to the South China Sea within its 200-nautical-mile exclusive economic zone-the Philippines is maintaining its preference for a legally binding document.

The document will be submitted to the ASEAN Summit in November.

China has proposed a three-step vision to step up consultations on the COC, Wang said.

The ASEAN ministers failed to release the joint statement as expected after meeting on Saturday due to their differences on the sea issue, with Vietnam pushing for tougher language and Cambodia lobbying hard for China. One of the most important issues to be debated is the recent missile tests carried out by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK); that is why that country is participating in the meeting.

Wang also revealed the talks would push through if a precondition was followed. Only dialogue and negotiations are the correct way to address the Korean Peninsula issue.

In the statement, the ministers urged Pyongyang to immediately and fully comply with its obligations under U.N. Security Council resolutions.

The six parties being alluded to are the US, China, Japan, Russia, North Korea and South Korea.

When asked on their position regarding the code being legally binding, Wang said he would leave it up to the ministers.

With regard to the different opinions being raised against China, which seemed bent on militarizing the South China Sea despite a ruling by the International Tribunal, Wang said China does not comment on which individual country or countries have raised the issue.

There had been "really tangible progress" so there was "a need to cherish momentum on the South China, he told a press conference after a meeting with his counterparts from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations".

"As long as we commit to dialogue and consultation and global law, including Unclos, we will be able to stabilize the situation and find a way out".

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