'Heated discussions' at Manila security meeting, Japanese official says


Posted at Aug 08 2017 03:22 AM

Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono gestures during a news conference on the sidelines of the 50th Association of Southeast Asia Nations (ASEAN) Regional Forum (ARF) in Manila on Monday. Dondi Tawatao, Reuters

MANILA - Japan's foreign minister said "heated discussions" took place about North Korea's missile tests and South China Sea disputes at a security forum on Monday, and most countries believed U.N. sanctions on Pyongyang should be fully implemented.

Taro Kono told reporters there was broad support among the 27 foreign ministers at the ASEAN Regional Forum in Manila for pressure to be exerted on North Korea and for a new U.N. Security Council resolution to be fully implemented.

"On the issue of North Korea, several countries have actually made lengthy statements and on the issue of South China Sea, those countries who are in the same position as ours, as well as the countries that are having slightly different positions, we had a very "heated" discussion," he said.

"Almost all countries have been telling me the U.N. Security Council resolutions that have been adopted should be strictly implemented. But having said so, what needs to be done, and there could be various different views on that, but at least on all these relevant U.N. Security Council resolutions, including the most recent one, I believe there is almost a consensus among ministers that those resolutions must be firmly and solidly implemented. That is my impression," he added.

Among those attending the event were North and South Korea, Russia, China, Japan and Australia.

Kono also said Japan supported the United States in its activities in the South China Sea to ensure freedom of navigation, and in a veiled reference to China, opposed "any unilateral attempt to change the status quo by force".