ASEAN latest to condemn North Korea for missile tests

ASEAN, Japan, China, South Korea agree to bolster financial cooperation

Foreign ministers of the two Koreas held talks on the sidelines of the ARF in 2000, 2004, 2005 and 2007.

During their first meeting since Kono assumed his post, the two ministers are expected to exchange views on how to tackle North Korea's nuclear and ballistic missile programs, two days after the U.N. Security Council piled fresh sanctions on Pyongyang. Kang and U.S. Secretary of State agreed that the newly adopted UN Security Council Resolution 2371 in response to the North's long-range ballistic missiles was a (quote) "good outcome", with Kang thanking Tillerson for Washington's full consultations with Seoul in the process.

Adding another layer of drama to the diplomatic maneuvering in Manila was the presence of North Korea's top diplomat, Ri Yong Ho, who planned his own meeting with China's foreign minister on the summit's sidelines.

The sanctions move played out as foreign ministers from across Asia gathered Sunday for a regional summit in the Philippines, where concerns about North Korea were already dominating the agenda.

Kono replaced Fumio Kishida as Japan's foreign minister last Thursday in a Cabinet reshuffle.

Kang and Kono will hold a separate meeting Monday in the Philippine capital, South Korea's Yonhap News Agency reported.

Both Cambodia and North Korea are China's allies.

UNSC approves new sanctions on North Korea
Earlier this year tensions grew even further after Kim Jong-un accused the US and South Korea of carrying out military drills. It is estimated that more than 50,000 North Korean workers are employed throughout Asia, the Middle East, Europe, and Africa.

At the Japan-ASEAN talks, Kono said, "Japan has consistently supported political and economic development of ASEAN since the first Japan-ASEAN summit meeting in 1977".

The 10-nation Asean may reach an agreement on how to depict their concern on the territorial disputes faster with language that will not include sensitive issues that China objects to, the diplomat said.

"We have to speak up when we should", Kono said ahead of his trip.

"I believe the secretary also mentioned in his press conference on Saturday... what we are trying to do is exploring if there's anything to explore and that was the secretary's way of saying we'll see if there is something worth pursuing", he said in a press briefing for the 50th ASEAN Foreign Ministers Meeting, at the Conrad Hotel in Pasay City.

ASEAN groups Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Singapore, along with the five nations.

The ARF is an annual security gathering involving foreign ministers from almost 30 nations including China, Japan, South Korea, the United States and the ASEAN members.

The top diplomats of North Korea and Russian Federation held a meeting Monday on the sidelines of a regional security forum in Manila, the Philippines, a North Korean diplomat said.

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