ASEAN foreign ministers voice ‘grave concerns’ over North Korea’s tension escalation

MANILA-- Top diplomats of the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) expressed "grave concerns" Saturday over the escalation of tensions on the Korean Peninsula, pointing to North Korea's two intercontinental ballistic missile tests last month.

The foreign ministers met in Manila ahead of other ASEAN meetings including Monday's ASEAN Regional Forum, a key regional security forum which North Korea also attends.

"We, the Foreign Ministers of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, reiterate our grave concerns over the escalation of tensions in the Korean Peninsula including the most recent testing by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) of intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM) on 4 and 28 July 2017 and previous ballistic missile launches and two nuclear tests in 2016," they said in a statement issued after their meeting.

"These developments seriously threaten peace, security and stability in the region and the world."

They still voiced their support for efforts to improve inter-Korean relations and work toward securing permanent peace in the region, promising to play a "constructive" role in the process.

"We support initiatives to improve inter-Korean relations towards establishing permanent peace in the Korean Peninsula. ASEAN stands ready to play a constructive role in contributing to peace and stability in the Korean Peninsula," they said.

The ASEAN foreign ministers urged the North to "positively" contribute to realizing the ASEAN Regional Forum's vision for the "lasting peace, stability, friendship and prosperity" of the Asia-Pacific region.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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