Tillerson says North Korea must halt launches to talk

BBC • GETTYJapanese citizens have been training for a nuclear attack

They called on China and the Philippines to abide by an arbitration ruling previous year that invalidated much of China's territorial claim to the South China Sea, which is claimed in part by Taiwan and ASEAN members Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam.

The US and other nations have tested Beijing's claims by conducting "freedom of navigation" operations around islands controlled by China.

"Several ministers of foreign affairs here are expressing concern about the situation on the Korean Peninsula, but those countries that are unable or fail to take issue with the U.S.'s hostile policy and nuclear threat towards the DPRK [Democratic People's Republic of Korea] - the root cause of the problem - are not morally qualified to talk about the nuclear issue of the Korean Peninsula", the Philippine Inquirer quoted him as saying.

The Yomiuri ShimbunTo prevent conflicts and maintain order in the South China Sea, it is indispensable to lay down legally binding global rules.

A Philippine government spokesman, Robespierre Bolivar, also announced that ASEAN and Chinese ministers have approved a framework for the code and agreed on steps to start negotiations on the maritime accord.

The South China Sea is an important sea lane for Japan and the United States.

While China has had robust economic ties with Southeast Asia, a diverse region of more than 600 million people with a combined GDP of $2.4 trillion, both have tangled for years over the territorial conflicts.

"The ministers voiced their strong opposition to coercive unilateral actions that could alter the status quo and increase tensions", they said in a joint statement on the sidelines of the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) ministerial meetings in Manila. As in past criticisms, they did not cite China by name.

The Pentagon said it had received the request to review the guidelines from South Korea and the military was working with the State Department to determine the best way forward.

Vietnam had insisted that tough language be inserted into the statement expressing concern over "land reclamation", a reference to an explosion in recent years of Chinese artificial island building in contested parts of the waters.

Although it's not an ASEAN member, China can exert its influence on allies like ASEAN member Cambodia to reject any move it deems inimical to its interests.

A global pressure campaign on North Korea propelled by sharp new United Nations sanctions received a welcome boost Sunday from China, the North's economic lifeline, as Beijing called on its neighbor to halt its missile and nuclear tests.

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

The meeting between Cayetano and Ri came after the foreign ministers of ASEAN's 10-member states issued a statement reiterating their "grave concern over the escalation of tensions" on the Korean Peninsula.

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