ASEAN, Japan, China, S. Korea agree to bolster financial cooperation

Southeast Asian nations feud over China sea claims

Ri tried to make the most of it, holding meetings with the top diplomats from China and Russian Federation, two countries that voted in favor of the latest United Nations sanctions. US criticism of Duterte's bloody war on drugs under President Donald Trump's predecessor Barack Obama, damaged relations between the long-standing allies.

In his opening remarks for the Ministerial Meeting, Tillerson said that among the issues that have been discussed between him and the ASEAN officials are "a number of matters of mutual security interest, and a number of economic areas of interest".

Susan Thornton, the top US diplomat for Asia, said Beijing had historically cooperated with sanctions after flagrant North Korean violations but then slipped back over time.

He apparently was referring to his government's proposal of holding military and humanitarian talks with the north that contrasted with the more hardline US position of stepping up sanctions and military pressure on the isolated communist state.

China and ASEAN celebrate the 15th anniversary of their strategic partnership next year.

"We emphasized the importance of non-militarization and self-restraint in the conduct of all activities by claimants and all other states, including those mentioned in the DOC that could further complicate the situation and escalate tensions in the South China Sea", the ministers said in the 46-page document.

"Lavrov emphasized that under the firm principle that it will not accept North Korea's nuclear weapons, Russian Federation will closely work with South Korea for a joint global goal of achieving denuclearization in a peaceful manner", Seoul's Foreign Ministry said in a statement.


The United States says it will be watching China closely to ensure it fully and continuously implements new U.N. sanctions on North Korea. China alone is responsible for 90 percent of North Korea's trade, and Russian Federation like China employs North Koreans as contract workers, whose salaries mostly go directly to their government.

China appears to be less convinced, with editorials in state-overseen newspapers ranging acknowledging the need to end nuclear testing but also calling for South Korea and the U.S. to accept blame for the current situation.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson meets with foreign ministers from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in Manila.

Yet despite deeming North Korea a top security threat, the young Trump administration has struggled to find a strategy that differs significantly from what the US has tried in the past.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told his Singaporean counterpart Vivian Balakrishnan during a meeting in Manila on Sunday that ties had come back on track of late.

North Korea has is yet to officially respond to the new sanctions.

Only the foreign minister of the Philippines, the chair of this year's forum sat down with his North Korean counterpart, to convey the ASEAN nations' unanimous warning to North Korea. Beijing praised Tillerson for declaring the USA wasn't seeking regime change in North Korea. The two primary issues at the formal sessions are North Korea and the South China Sea. The resolution was drafted by the United States, a permanent member of the council.

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