Korea: No plans to meet S. Korea's foreign minister at ARF

The foreign ministers of North Korea and South Korea spoke face-to-face at a gala in Manila Sunday night, according to South Korean media reports, at a time of heightened tensions over Pyongyang's missile program. The ministers traditionally issue a communique containing their diverse concerns, and their issuance of a separate statement on North Korea's missile tests and nuclear weapons program reflects their deep worries about the issue.

On Saturday, the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) unanimously adopted the resolution tightening the economic sanctions against North Korea in response to July's launches of ballistic missiles by Pyongyang.

"We discussed extensively the matters relating to the South China Sea and took note of 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", the association said in a joint communique.

He also said, "Of course, we would like to urge other parties like the United States and South Korea to stop increasing tensions".

Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) spokesman Robespierre Bolivar confirmed this development in a press conference after the ASEAN-China Ministerial Meeting on Sunday.

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Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) acting Spokesperson Robespierre Bolivar said the framework COC is expected to be adopted at the ASEAN China Ministerial Meeting slated here on August 6.

North Korea's foreign minister Ri Yong Ho said Seoul's proposals lack sincerity when South Korea is imposing sanctions on the North with the United States, the official added.

With the US, Japan and South Korea expected to push for stronger actions against the North, a verbal showdown loom.

"Discussions this year will focus on counter-terrorism, the Korean Peninsula, cyber security, and maritime issues", Mr Brownlee says.

Trump's team has made it clear it wants the worldwide community to put pressure on North Korea, by isolating the country and depriving it of cash in the hopes that Kim Jong Un will put his nuclear weapons program on the negotiating table.

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"We could have done more to push China to agree to a much stronger document, holding claimant states more accountable", said one ASEAN diplomat.

This is after the ASEAN foreign ministers released a statement Saturday echoing their "grave concern" since April over the hermit state's continued nuclear activities.

On the territorial disputes in the South China Sea that embroil ASEAN members Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam, the 10 foreign ministers on Saturday approved a framework of a long-proposed code of conduct aimed at preventing clashes in the disputed waters, Bolivar said.

China's Foreign Minister Wan Yi (sixth from left) links arms with ASEAN foreign ministers and their representatives during the signing of a memorandum of understanding on the ASEAN-China Center in Manila yesterday.

MANILA, Aug 3 (Reuters) - Southeast Asian ministers meeting this week are set to avoid tackling the subject of Beijing's arming and building of manmade South China Sea islands, preparing to endorse a framework for a code of conduct that is neither binding nor enforceable.

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