Duterte wants North Korea to be Asean's dialogue partner

Duterte wants North Korea to be Asean's dialogue partner

The ministers urged ASEAN member states and China to fully and effectively implement the 2002 Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC).

More than one year after an ill-founded award at a South China Sea arbitration unilaterally delivered by an ad hoc tribunal in The Hague, the situation in the South China Sea has stabilized and improved thanks to the wisdom and sincerity of China and the parties concerned.

The three countries are not claimants but have always been vocal on the issue, arguing their interest is in ensuring freedom of navigation and overflight.

The arbitral tribunal ruling, which was released in July 12 a year ago, favored the Philippines' claim over disputed islands in the South China Sea. Its sweeping claims overlap with those of ASEAN members Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia and Brunei, as well as Taiwan.

"Beijing's task has been made easier because the Philippines holds the (ASEAN) chair this year".

The foreign ministers of 10 ASEAN member states said a unilateral action has been the cause of tension and crisis arising between members of ASEAN and Beijing.

They welcomed the entry into force of the Protocol to Amend the Framework Agreement on Comprehensive Economic Cooperation and Certain Agreements between ASEAN and China (ACFTA Upgrade Protocol) and looked forward to early ratification of the protocol by the remaining parties.

North Korea is determined to develop a nuclear-tipped missile capable of hitting the United States and officials in Washington say its latest test on Saturday showed it may be able to reach most of the country.

"We won't make any progress", Cayetano said.

"Ultimately, what happens in the rhetorical arena is just one element, and certainly not the most important one, in Sino-U.S. relations", said Jonathan Sullivan, director of the University of Nottingham's China Policy Institute.

As mentioned above, ASEAN's statement on the South China Sea was much softer, in part because the ASEAN nations ended up in a diplomatic impasse over how strong the wording should be.

RCEP, he said, "will provide further impetus to our efforts", adding he hoped negotiations on the Beijing-led deal "should conclude swiftly".

Jay Batongbacal, an expert on the South China Sea at the University of the Philippines, told news channel ANC the adoption of the framework gave China "the absolute upper hand" in terms of strategy, because it will be able to decide when the negotiating process can start.

Tillerson is also expected to press China on its growing presence in the South China Sea and raise human rights concerns with Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte.

On Tuesday, the state-run China Daily cited unnamed sources as saying Vietnam had tried to hype up the reclamation issue in the communique, pointing out that Vietnam has accelerated its land reclamation in the South China Sea.

Critics of China have accused it of assiduously dividing ASEAN, which operates on a consensus basis, with strong-arm tactics and chequebook diplomacy, enticing smaller countries in the bloc such as Cambodia and Laos to support it.

China was upset over the wording of a communique released by foreign ministers of the Association of South-east Asian Nations on Sunday night that expressed concern over land reclamation on disputed islands, according to the people, who asked not to be identified because the information isn't public.



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