Australia-Japan-United States Trilateral Strategic Dialogue Ministerial Joint Statement

Southeast Asian nations feud over China sea claims

Southeast Asian nations feud over China sea claims

Vietnam Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh is among top diplomats from more than 20 countries attending meetings in Manila this week. On Sunday, following a late-night conversation with South Korean President Moon Jae-in, Trump tweeted: "Just completed call with President Moon of South Korea".

In his opening remarks for the Ministerial Meeting, Tillerson said that among the issues that have been discussed between him and the ASEAN officials involve "a number of security interest, of mutual interest, and a number of economic areas of interest".

The top USA diplomat held bilateral talks with the leaders of 26 countries during the regional summit, as he begins his first diplomatic trip to Southeast Asia. But a commentary in the ruling party's Rodong Sinmun newspaper said Washington had disregarded the warning the North sent with its intercontinental ballistic missile tests and was pursuing "desperate efforts" in the form of stepped-up sanctions.

However, critics say this move as tactic to buy China time to consolidate its maritime power.

Singapore will be chair when Asean plunges into the thick of negotiations to come up with a COC, meant to manage territorial disputes in the South China Sea.

"Lavrov emphasized that under the firm principle that it will not accept North Korea's nuclear weapons, Russian Federation will closely work with South Korea for a joint global goal of achieving denuclearization in a peaceful manner", Seoul's Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

Ahead of the gathering, the United States had urged ASEAN countries to "downgrade" its North Korea ties. The two both participated in other multilateral meetings in Manila, including one between China and the 10 Asean ministers.

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Tillerson met his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, on the sidelines of the ASEAN event in Manila on Sunday, where he also asked about Moscow's retaliation to new US sanctions against Russia.

U.S., Japan and Australia on Monday urged the Association of Southeast Asian Nations to exert more pressure on North Korea over its nuclear ambitions and to make sure a planned code of conduct for maritime disputes is legally binding.

The South China Sea is an important sea lane for Japan and the United States.

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Susan Thornton is the top USA diplomat for Asia.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi is seen after the launching ceremony of the Asean Regional Forum Annual Security Outlook in Manila August 7, 2017. The ministers reaffirmed their commitment to strong autonomous sanctions measures on North Korea and will coordinate these sanctions and capacity building measures, including in the area of export control to detect and disrupt North Korean WMD proliferation networks.

A more direct warning was aimed at the United States in a government statement published by the state-run KCNA news agency.

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