Foreign ministers of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) urged North Korea on Friday to put a stop to its nuclear testing and ballistic missile launches that have rattled the region and its other neighbors since last year.
The ministers issued a statement on the Korean Peninsula tension, the first statement they made after they met to finalize the regional grouping’s positions on certain issues ahead of the leaders’ summit on Saturday.
The stance taken by the Asean foreign ministers came at a time when North Korea reportedly sought the support of the regional grouping in its row with the United States and called for it to make an issue of the US-South Korea military exercises in the Korean Peninsula.
But in their statement, the Asean ministers said Asean was “grave(ly) concern(ed) over the escalation of tension in the Korean Peninsula, including the DPRK’s (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) two nuclear tests in 2016 and subsequent ballistic missile launches.”
“Asean is mindful that instability in the Korean Peninsula seriously impacts the region and beyond. Asean strongly urges the DPRK to comply fully with its obligations arising from all relevant United Nations Security Council Resolutions and international laws in the interest of maintaining international peace and security,” the foreign ministers said.
“Asean also urges the DPRK and all parties concerned to exercise self-restraint in order to deescalate the tension and refrain from actions that may aggravate the situation,” they said.
The foreign ministers said the regional grouping back the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and called for the resumption of dialogue on the Korean Peninsula “to defuse tensions and create conditions conducive to peace and stability.”