Tuesday, 17 October, 2017

United States and China back stiffer sanctions on Pyongyang

China calls for halt to US THAAD deployment in S.Korea US and China pressure North Korea after sanctions vote
Marta Holmes | 09 August, 2017, 01:48

"The three foreign ministers will share their assessments of situations caused by the North's repeated strategic provocations and discuss necessary countermeasures", the ministry said.

They noted the concerns expressed by some Ministers on the land reclamations and activities in the area, which have "eroded trust and confidence, increased tensions and may undermine peace, security and stability in the region".

North Korea is determined to develop a nuclear-tipped missile capable of hitting the US. The demands that China stop expanding and reinforcing man-made islands in the sea, however, have been watered down from a year ago as more pressing demands have risen to the forefront.

China is providing a welcome boost to the global campaign to pressure North Korea to halt its missile and nuclear tests.

Speaking to reporters after the council vote, Washington's ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley said "what's next is completely up to North Korea".

In a letter to ASEAN Secretary General Le Luong Minh, North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho warned that the region was on the brink of war.

The new ban would target about US$1 billion worth of North Korean exports, according to one of the United Nations diplomats, who asked not to be identified as discussing confidential negotiations.

Vietnam also wanted ASEAN to insist in the statement that a planned code of conduct for the sea with China be "legally binding", which Beijing opposes.

Vietnam urged other Southeast Asian nations to take a stronger stand against Chinese expansionism in the South China Sea, as a tense regional security forum began on Saturday with North Korea also under fire over its nuclear programme.

"We have agreed upon and approved the COC framework".

"If there is no major disruption from outside parties, with that as the precondition, then we will consider during the November leaders' meeting, we will jointly announce the official start of the code of conduct consultation", Wang said.

Robespierre Bolivar, spokesman of the Department of Foreign Affairs, described the initial progress after years of efforts by Southeast Asian countries to negotiate a code of conduct with China "as a very big step". "So, in the process of further improving China-Asean relations, Singapore can play its special and positive role".

Analysts believe China will continue to grow its influence in ASEAN at a time of uncertainty over the Trump administration's security priorities and whether it will try to keep China's aggressive behaviour in the South China Sea in check.

Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi on Sunday said that while the sanctions were "necessary" after Pyongyang's missile tests in July, only negotiations would resolve the conflict on the Korean Peninsula.

'We further reaffirmed the need to enhance mutual trust and confidence, exercise self-restraint in the conduct of activities and avoid actions that may further complicate the situation, and pursue peaceful resolution of disputes in accordance with global law, ' the statement said. "This is the most important consensus we have reached".

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