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ASEAN ministers condemn China's land reclamation, militarization in South China Sea

ASEAN ministers condemn China's land reclamation, militarization in South China Sea

After a bilateral meeting on the sideline of the Summit, Wang told media he'd warned North Korea off testing the "goodwill" of the worldwide community and to take a "double suspension" approach, in which North Korea would cease nuclear testing and the USA and Japan would end military drills in the area.

At ASEAN Regional Forum, Kang Kyung-wha reiterated proposals for military and Red Cross talks The South and North Korean Foreign Ministers had a chilly first meeting on the evening of August 6 while in Manila for the 24th ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF).

On Korea, a draft statement by ASEAN condemning the North's missile launches is being objected to by Cambodia, a close friend of China, since it does not include a call for ending western military provocations.

The ministers also called on North Korea to end its systematic human rights violations and abuses and to immediately release all foreign nationals being held in North Korea, including Japanese abductees and American citizens.

This has been the statement of the ASEAN foreign ministers regarding China's land reclamation and militarization of the area. It is unacceptable for the envisaged code of conduct to be written in a manner that would approve of China's attempt to change the status quo by force.

In a surprise move, the ministers defied China's steadfast stance and issued a joint communique late Sunday that indirectly criticized Beijing's land reclamation and military fortifications in the disputed waters.

Thus during the meeting, the bloc upheld the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

Japan has been calling on parties concerned to faithfully follow the July 2016 ruling by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, the Netherlands, that rejected China's claims in its territorial dispute with the Philippines in the South China Sea.

In previous years, the Philippines joined Vietnam in strongly countering China's sweeping claims over nearly the entire South China Sea.

Apart from the 10 ASEAN members, North Korea is one of 17 other countries including China, South Korea and the United States that participate at ARF meetings. The ministers resolved to advance and build on this cooperation through ongoing exchanges of information and dialogue on regional needs.

He told reporters there had been "really tangible progress" so there was "a need to cherish momentum on the South China Sea".

The ASEAN ministers failed to release the joint statement as expected after meeting on Saturday due to their differences on the sea issue, with Vietnam pushing for tougher language and Cambodia lobbying hard for China. The ministers reaffirmed their commitment to the counter-terrorism-specific trilateral strategic dialogue to enhance coordination and programming.

A plan of actions for 2018-2022 is slated to be approved at the conference. The ministers resolved to continue to support internally displaced persons and to coordinate on protecting soft targets and countering terrorist financing.

Indonesia's foreign minister Retno Marsudi praised the work of AICHR in advancing human rights protection, emphasising that regional cooperation on the issues of terrorism, the rights of migrant workers and democracy was vital.

Alan Peter Cayetano said some countries wanted the South China Sea code to be legally binding, and China preferred only "binding".

"It is an obligation for not only UNSC countries but all United Nations member states".

All three countries' ministers are attending the Asean forum in Manila. "ASEAN stands ready to play a constructive role in contributing to peace and stability in the Korean Peninsula".