ASEAN calls for dialogue to calm tensions over NoKor nuke tests

Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 16 2017 07:11 PM

MANILA - Leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) on Thursday reaffirmed its call for the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and the resumption of talks to calm tensions stoked by North Korea's nuclear missile tests. 

"We reiterated our support for the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula in a peaceful manner and called for the exercise of self-restraint and the resumption of dialogue in order to de-escalate tensions and create conditions conducive to peace and stability," the ASEAN said in a Chairman's statement released Thursday.

"Noting that these developments seriously threaten peace and stability in the entire region and beyond, we strongly urged the DPRK (North Korea) to fully and immediately comply with its obligations arising from all the relevant UN Security Council Resolutions," it read.

Last week, United States President Donald Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe urged other nations to "unite to ramp up pressure against North Korea to the maximum level."

"We should create a situation in which North Korea comes to us to ask for dialogue in exchange for changing their policies," Abe said in a press conference in Manila Tuesday.

"There has to be commitment from North Korea to fully abandon its nuclear program," he said.

In August, North Korea fired ballistic missiles that flew over Japan and landed in the Pacific waters off the northern region of Hokkaido.

This prompted the United Nations Security Council to issue new sanctions to force Pyongyang to abandon its nuclear and ballistic missiles tests.

North Korea responded by launching another ballistic missile over Japan on Sept. 15.

Several countries, including the Philippines, have cut economic ties with Pyongyang in response to UN's declaration of stiffer sanctions against the reclusive state.

Southeast Asian leaders have consistently expressed "grave concern" over North Korea's nuclear program. 

But in August, the 10-member bloc agreed not to oust the hermit kingdom from the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) - the lone security summit where Pyongyang sends its top envoy to engage in dialogue with other foreign ministers.