China urges North Korea to be 'smart' and drop its missile tests

SE Asian ministers endorse framework of S. China Sea code

Tensions run high at meeting

Foreign Minister Taro Kono and U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson agreed on Monday that their countries will hold a so-called two-plus-two meeting of the foreign and defense ministers in Washington on August 17.

Chinese President Xi Jinping on Tuesday sent a congratulatory message to Rodrigo Duterte, president of the Philippines, which is the rotating chair of the Association of Southeastern Asian Nations (ASEAN), on the 50th founding anniversary of the regional organization.

Ei Sun Oh, adjunct senior fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore said: "It would appear China has never lost in terms of seeing the language of ASEAN forum statements being toned down". But in the wake of two historically successful tests by North Korea of its burgeoning intercontinental ballistic missile program, Defense Department officials are concerned Seoul's capabilities may be no match for Pyongyang's rapidly developing nuclear arsenal. 'What really matters is that the foreign minister of North Korea is here so he has the chance to listen to the views of various parties regarding the situation on the Korean Peninsula'.

"China-Asean ties have become one of the most vigorous and enriched dialogue partnerships of Asean", Xi Jinping added. He said Pyongyang would use nuclear weapons only against the United States or any other country that might join it in military action against North Korea.

Before Tillerson's trip, the US had said he had no plans to interact with North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho.

The conclusion was made in a confidential assessment completed last month by the Defense Intelligence Agency, the newspaper said, citing anonymous U.S. intelligence officials. "If it believes it is only North Korea rather than the USA and South Korea as well to blame for the nuclear issue, this ill-fitting mindset will not help solve the crisis", the editorial said.

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North Korea reacted angrily, vowing to bolster its arsenal and mount revenge against the US. According to Tillerson, the UN Security Council remains firm in its strong stand in putting an end to missile tests in North Korea.

North Korea has drawn widespread condemnation for its missile and nuclear tests. But we have told all countries around the world: We are a sovereign nation.

Foreign ministers of Southeast Asia and China adopted on Sunday a negotiating framework for a code of conduct in the South China Sea, a move they hailed as progress but seen by critics as tactic to buy China time to consolidate its maritime power. It has long accused the United States and South Korea of escalating tensions by conducting military drills.

Still, Thornton says China's vote for the sanctions is a good step that shows Beijing understands the gravity of the problem.

The United States did not seek regime change, the collapse of the regime, an accelerated reunification of the peninsula or an excuse to send the U.S. military into North Korea, Tillerson said.

The success or failure of the latest resolution will rest with China, which accounts for 90 percent of all trade with North Korea.

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