Leaders at ASEAN forum talk DPRK and South China Sea

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SINGAPORE-ASEAN-FORUMUS Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (3rd L) shakes hands with DPRK’s Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho (3rd R) as they arrive for a group photo at the ASEAN Regional Forum Retreat during the 51st Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Ministerial Meeting (AMM) in Singapore on August 4, 2018. (AFP PHOTO / Mohd RASFAN)

In Singapore, foreign ministers from ASEAN member nations tackled some tough topics this week. Many leaders are calling the dialogue at the forum both necessary and productive. Among the main topics: challenges on the Korean Peninsula.

CGTN’s Miro Lu reports.

In his closing remarks, Singapore Foreign Affairs Minister Vivian Balakrishnan said this year’s meeting was by far the least contentious and most constructive one yet. He said ASEAN is committed to continuing providing a safe space for candid and brutally frank discussions, especially on issues like the Korean Peninsula and the South China Sea.

At a press conference on Saturday, the U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo emphasized that diplomatic pressure on the DPRK is vital to the achievement of a completely denuclearized Korean Peninsula.

“Any violation that detracts from the world’s goal of finally fully denuclearizing North Korea would be something that American would take very seriously,” said Pompeo.

The Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi was more optimistic and said there was visible development on the denuclearization in the Korean Peninsula.

“All parties concerned, including the United States and the DPRK, have arrived at an important consensus that there needs to be parallel progress on both tracks of achieving denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula, and establishing a peace mechanism there,” said Wang.

ASEAN was formed in 1967 not only to counter external threats with a united voice but also to develop a system for dispute settlements. Meetings like the ASEAN Regional Forum provide a platform for regional and international players to resolve conflicts with quiet diplomacy.

Disagreements on the international stage are commonplace. China and U.S. have accused each other of flexing military muscle in the South China Sea.

On the denuclearization front, DPRK’s foreign minister Ri Yong Ho maintained Pyongyang’s commitment to peace but said that the U.S.’ insistence on economic sanctions is counterproductive.


Qinduo Xu discusses the significance of the ASEAN forum

CGTN’s Frances Kuo talks with Qinduo Xu, a senior researcher at Pangoal Institution and political analyst for China Radio International, about the ASEAN Regional Forum.