ASEAN 'framework' on South China Sea tiptoes around the real issue

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U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has skipped a dinner in the Philippines for foreign ministers that North Korea's top diplomat attended.

On behalf of the Government of the United States of America, we offer congratulations to the peoples and member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), as well as the ASEAN Secretariat, on the organization's 50th anniversary on August 8th.

There was mention in the ASEAN communiqué of a proposed Code of Conduct (COC) in the South China Sea, aimed at maintaining peace in the region through self-restraint in settling disputes.

North korea says it will gain revenge of "thousand-fold" over the us after sanctions were imposed by the United Nations following North Korea's recent intercontinental ballistic missile tests, according to the Associated Press.

The Trump administration's attempts to pressure North Korea into abandoning its nuclear and missile ambitions have so far gained little traction, and Pyongyang has only stepped up its tests, launching two intercontinental ballistic missile tests last month.

On Monday, Pyongyang's closest ally expressed his views on North Korea's upfront rejection.

"We will, under no circumstances, put the nukes and ballistic rockets on the negotiating table", Ri told Asia-Pacific foreign ministers at the forum. North Korea's Rodong Sinmun news website published a commentary dismissing the sanctions as "cooked up by the USA", adding that "the US mainland is on the crossroads of life and death".

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China has since 2015 dredged a new harbour and added 10 hectares (about 25 acres) of land on Tree island in the Paracels, and has recently completed a new helipad and installed wind turbines and photovoltaic solar arrays there, it said.

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. Kono reiterated the need for South Korea to faithfully implement the December 28 agreement, while Kang observed that the agreement is emotionally unacceptable to the South Korean public. According to Tillerson, the UN Security Council remains firm in its strong stand in putting an end to missile tests in North Korea. He was apparently referring to the United States, which China has, for the longest time, accused of meddling in what it says is an Asian dispute that should be resolved only by the countries involved.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said he told Ri that North Korea should abide by United Nations prohibitions against missile and nuclear testing.

Pyongyang also lambasted ASEAN member states for not being "morally qualified" to meddle in North Korea's nuclear program because they ignored the "hostile policy and nuclear threat" that the US imposed on the North.

"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.

One of the concerns raised during the discussion was the recurring missile tests conducted by North Korea.

Thornton says the US isn't now considering China's proposal to freeze USA military exercises with South Korea in exchange for the North halting nuclear development.

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