ASEAN Rebukes China, Then Gives Away the Store

Bruno Cirelli
Agosto 13, 2017

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono and Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop also called on Beijing to abide by a 2016 global tribunal ruling that invalidated its sweeping claims in the South China Sea.

"I was disappointed", Wang said in the meeting with Kono, which was held here on August 7 on the sidelines of foreign ministers' meetings related to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

But it's doubtful if the sanctions, which came following North Korea's test-firing of two intercontinental ballistic missiles in July, will pressure the reclusive state into negotiations. He said the ARF is the only regional dialogue where North Korea sends its foreign minister.

But Washington says it will be watching closely to ensure that China doesn't ease up on the North " if and when the world's attention is diverted elsewhere.

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".

As China and ASEAN celebrate the 15th anniversary of strategic partnership next year, both sides are also facing a critical point to bring the ties to a higher level, Wang said, calling for future actions to build a higher level China-ASEAN strategic partnership and a closer community of common destiny of China and ASEAN.

The Global Times, an influential state-run Chinese tabloid, said in June that the once "special relationship" between the two nations was fading away amid mistrust over the South China Sea.

South Korean officials told reporters after the meeting said that Kang and Tillerson had agreed to pursue the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula through peaceful measures.

"(The sanctions are a ) violent infringement of its sovereignty" that was caused by a "heinous USA plot to isolate and stifle" the country.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, who met Sunday with Mr. Tillerson and with North Korea's top diplomat, publicly urged Pyongyang to "maintain calm" and "not violate the U.N.'s decision or provoke worldwide society's goodwill by conducting missile launching or nuclear tests".

North Korea rarely attends, or is even invited to, worldwide forums like the ASEAN meeting.

"The COC not only serves regional trust-building, but also sets a foundation for long-term peace and stability in the South China Sea", he told Xinhua.

"The best signal that North Korea could give us that they're prepared to talk would be to stop these missile launches", he said, according to the Washington Post.

Wang apparently expressed hope that Kono's inauguration as foreign minister will provide a good opportunity for improving China's relations with Japan, while also criticizing Japan on South China Sea issues. China is North Korea's most important ally.

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