ASEAN Calls on North Korea to Halt Missile, Nuclear Tests

Sanctions, talks important for N. Korean nuclear issue: China

Chinese, N. Korean foreign ministers hold meeting at ASEAN Forum in Manila – report

The diplomatic wrangling sought to build on the sweeping new North Korea sanctions passed by the U.N. Security Council a day earlier - the strongest in a generation, the USA said.

The new sanctions could slash North Korea's $3 billion annual export revenue by a third.

At a meeting in Washington in May, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson pressed his ASEAN counterparts to fully implement and adhere to United Nations sanctions on North Korea.

The U.S. -drafted measure, negotiated with North Korea's neighbor and ally China, is aimed at increasing economic pressure on Pyongyang to return to negotiations on its nuclear and missile programs.

But Tillerson says it's not as simple as North Korea stopping launches for a few days or weeks.

On Twitter, Trump writes: "The United Nations Security Council just voted 15-0 to sanction North Korea".

"The ministers expressed their grave concern over recent developments in the Korean Peninsula including the most recent testing by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) of intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM) on July 4 and July 28, 2017 and previous ballistic missile launches and two nuclear tests in 2016", the statement said.

The sanctions ban the import of North Korean raw materials such as coal, iron, seafood and lead and block any new joint ventures with the North.

The United States, whose Secretary of State, Tillerson, was expected to meet with Duterte on the sidelines of the Manila meetings, had earlier warned that all concerned countries had limited time, and said that the North Korean threat necessitated a strong response.

Meanwhile, Pyongyang lambasted tough new sanctions adopted over the weekend by the U.N. Security Council as an act of terror.

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.

Australia, Japan, and the US also urged ASEAN member states "to maximize pressure on North Korea".

The statement also said, "Some ministers emphasized the importance of addressing humanitarian concerns, including the immediate resolution of the abductions issue", implicitly referring to North Korea's kidnapping of Japanese nationals decades ago.

Seoul had recently tested the missile shield successfully amid tests carried out by North Korea.

Though Beijing repeated its call for the United States and North Korea to resume talks, the USA said that was still premature, and rejected yet again a Chinese call for the freeze joint military exercises with South Korea in exchange for the North halting nuclear development.

Susan Thornton is the top US diplomat for Asia.

"What we have to do is everything we can to pressure this regime, to pressure Kim Jong-un and those around him such that they conclude, it is in their interest to denuclearize", he said. She says it was a "very, very good outcome".

The meeting comes as the US and Asian nations join together to try to step up Pyongyang's economic and diplomatic isolation.

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