Tillerson arrives in Manila ahead of regional meeting


The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) foreign ministers have opened a regional meeting in the Philippines capital Manila, expressing grave concern on Saturday about rising tensions on the Korean peninsula.

"I think what we would expect to see this year at the meeting would be a general chorus of condemnation of North Korea's provocative behavior and pretty serious diplomatic isolation directed at the North Korean foreign minister", said Acting Assistant Secretary for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Susan Thornton.

With North Korea pushing ahead with its nuclear ambitions, speculation is growing that the senior North Korean official will defend and promote the regime's weapons development and dismiss Washington's call on fellow members to isolate Pyongyang diplomatically by suspending it from Asia's biggest security forum.

Friday, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said US officials are also expected to address, with their Philippine counterparts, how to resolve the security situation in Marawi, by addressing the global threat of terrorism and increasing Philippine-US economic and people-to-people engagement.

America responded by staging a military exercise with its allies South Korea and conducting its own test launch of its THAAD defence missile system in California.

The US has drafted a new United Nations resolution that could slash up to $1 billion from Pyongyang's export which diplomats say could be presented any moment before the Security Council for a vote.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Sunday he believed his USA colleagues were ready to continue dialogue with Moscow on complex issues despite bilateral tensions.

Wang also urged all parties not to heighten tension on the Korean peninsula and said China had already clearly condemned North Korea's latest missile test.

On the territorial disputes in the South China Sea that embroil ASEAN members Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam, the 10 foreign ministers on Saturday approved a framework of a long-proposed code of conduct aimed at preventing clashes in the disputed waters, Bolivar said.

Haley spoke to the United Nations security council after the 15-member body imposed the new sanctions against North Korea, in response to its two long-range missiles tests in July.

The sweeping measures were the first of that scope to be imposed on North Korea since US President Donald Trump took office and highlighted China's willingness to punish its Pyongyang ally.

Last week, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi spoke favorably of the idea of Beijing and Manila jointly exploring the South China Sea for oil.

A TV news program shows a file image of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at the Seoul Railway Station in Seoul, South Korea, Sunday, May 14, 2017.

"He said he's not going to tolerate North Korea being able to threaten the United States", McMaster said.

The Trump administration has looked to increase sanctions on North Korea, designating businesses that deal with the DPRK both in Russian Federation and China and passing new sanctions legislation. She says it was a "very, very good outcome".

"You have to excuse my voice as my colleagues, we kept each other up until nearly midnight last night".