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US secretary of state hints at talks with North Korea

13 August 2017, 09:07 | Terri Saunders

US secretary of state hints at talks with North Korea

US secretary of state hints at talks with North Korea

All eyes are on U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, as he joined other leading nations' foreign ministers at the ASEAN conference in the Philippines.

The Asean foreign ministers, in a joint statement on Saturday, slammed North Korea for its intercontinental ballistic missile tests that may put at risk the peace and stability in the region.

Cambodia has previously made clear it will not back any further nuclear development efforts by North Korea.

And the editorial itself sounded a resigned note about what will happen now that the sanctions have been passed: "Judging from past experience, the North Korean side will prepare a tough response to the resolution, and the US, Japan, and other countries will use the chance to conduct military activities, which will directly cause the situation to escalate". This is a testament to the value the United States places on our partnership with ASEAN and, as a Pacific nation, our engagement with the broader Asia-Pacific region.

"This kind of moral equivalency that's implied by the freeze for freeze, which is between the North Koreans shooting off missiles that are prohibited and our reasonably defensive exercises that we undertake in our alliance with the South Koreans to protect them from these launches, is not a reasonable kind of a trade", Thornton said.

The joint statement issued after the latest ASEAN foreign ministerial meeting did not mention China by name, only emphasizing the importance of "non-militarization" of the South China Sea. The rejection may have sprung from the new sanctions on North Korea.

'We express dissatisfaction and firm opposition to the Japan´s 2017 Defense White Paper, which contains statements about China's naval activities in the East and South Seas.

Pyongyang also clarified that the nuclear program was prepared against a possible threat from the US, but it is ready to go on the offensive against countries that join the U.S.

Will the North finally unite with the South?

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"China thinks Singapore, as a Chinese-majority nation, should listen a bit more to Beijing", the source, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Reuters.

"It's a common stand for Asean because the ARF is the lone opportunity for North Korea attends".

Lavrov told reporters that he believed the United States would continue a dialogue with Russian Federation despite what both sides have described as the worst tensions since the Cold War ended.

China "hopes North Korea can echo this signal from the United States", Wang added.

Mr Tillerson said halting missile test launches, which have anxious neighbours South Korea and Japan, was a first step toward dialogue.

In a phone call Sunday, President Trump and Moon Jae-in, his South Korean counterpart, "affirmed that North Korea poses a grave and growing direct threat to the United States, South Korea and Japan, as well as to most countries around the world", according to a White House statement.

He says the North is "ready to teach the USA a severe lesson with its nuclear strategic force".

"It is conceivable that North Korea's nuclear weapons programme has already considerably advanced and it is possible that North Korea has already achieved the miniaturisation of nuclear weapons and has acquired nuclear warheads", it said. China has resisted America's strong push to cut off oil deliveries, arguing that dialogue with North Korea is the only way to persuade Pyongyang to halt its missile programs.



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