ASEAN Calls on North Korea to Halt Missile, Nuclear Tests

Ri Yong-ho left and Wang Yi

He dismissed the U.N. Security Council sanctions approved Saturday as illegal, appearing to rule out talks the Trump administration, in a diplomatic partnership with China and Russian Federation, is offering North Korea as a way out of its economic and diplomatic pariah status.

It was not immediately clear whether the statement was read to the ASEAN Regional Forum on Monday.

North Korean's top diplomat says "under no circumstances" will it put its nuclear weapons or ballistic missiles on the negotiating table.

The UN Security Council unanimously imposed new sanctions on North Korea on Saturday aimed at pressuring Pyongyang to end its nuclear programme.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi says he urged his North Korean counterpart to abide by United Nations resolutions and stop provoking "the worldwide community's goodwill" with missile launches and nuclear tests. They include a complete ban on its exports of coal, a main source of hard currency suspected to be channeled for its weapons development programs.

North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho emerges from his bilateral meeting with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi, right, in the sidelines of the 50th ASEAN Foreign Ministers' Meeting and its Dialogue Partners Sunday, Aug. 6, 2017 in suburban Pasay city, south Manila, Philippines.

Apart from a developing missile and nuclear program, North Korea has a powerful army with 700,000 active troops and another 4.5 million in the reserves.

On preconditions for reopening talks with North Korea, Tillerson said "we'll know it when we see it".

Tillerson would not spell out a deadline for North Korea to respond to the diplomatic overture.

"The basic political dynamics remain: China does not want North Korea to crumble, and China craves geopolitical stability above everything else", he said.

The United States does not seek regime change, the collapse of the regime, an accelerated reunification of the peninsula or an excuse to send the US military into North Korea, Tillerson said. North Korea has used USA military exercises in the region as means of galvanizing its people, claiming that the exercises are dress rehearsals for an impending invasion.

The resolution is the sixth on North Korean to be adopted by the Security Council since 2006 (the previous ones are resolutions 1718, 1874, 2087, 2094 and 2270), and despite China having voted in favor of each one, there is scant evidence that it has implemented them robustly.

Niki Haley, the US ambassador to the United Nations, stated that the Security Council had lived up to its role by backing the sanctions.

"The fundamental reason for THAAD deployment is for our national interest and for the sake of our national security", Tang said, referring to Seoul's Terminal High Altitude Area Defense supplied by the U.S.

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says the approval of new United Nations sanctions targeting North Korea over its nuclear and ballistic missile programs is a "very good outcome".

In a separate development, Tillerson said on Monday he believes Washington and Russia can find a way to ease tension, saying it wouldn't be useful to cut ties over the single issue of suspected Russian meddling in the USA election.

But he applauded the Security Council vote on Twitter.

The new economic sanctions were approved amid the discussions in Manila.

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