China, Vietnam meeting cancelled amid rising South China Sea tensions

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Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi (2nd from left) links arms with other foreign ministers of the 10 Association of Southeast Asian Nations members during the ASEAN-China Ministerial Meeting at the Philippine International Convention Center in Pasay City on August 6, 2017.

On Saturday, the UNSC adopted a fresh sanctions resolution unanimously to punish the North for its two claimed intercontinental ballistic missile launches in July.

"We strongly call upon (North Korea) as a participant of the ASEAN Regional Forum, to positively contribute to realise the ARF vision to maintain the Asia-Pacific as a region of lasting peace, stability, friendship and prosperity", ASEAN said.

Mean tweets and the veiled threat of a trade war put aside, China is preparing to host US President Donald Trump on a visit this year. Furthermore, Washington wants ASEAN to do more to isolate the hermit kingdom from all ASEAN-led forums.

Mr. Bolivar said the pending joint communiqué will be released at the end of the cycle of meetings "as a package with all the chairman's statements on Monday or Tuesday".

The State Department said it needed to ensure Sudan is making enough progress on counterterrorism and humanitarian access and that it wanted to check "that Sudan is committed to the full implementation of UN Security Council resolutions on North Korea".

North Korea, which has maintained close relations with ASEAN, had earlier sought support from ASEAN countries in its row with the United States to prevent a "nuclear holocaust".

On the occasion, the FMs candidly discussed regional and global issues of shared concern, which have directly affected peace, security and stability in the region, with the most noteworthy being the situation in the East Sea and the Korean Peninsula, and new security challenges like terrorism and cyber security.

Besides maritime security and denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, regional counterterrorism is said to be also high on the ASEAN agenda.

Kang, South Korea's first female foreign minister, said any meeting with Ri would be an opportunity "to deliver our desire for the North to stop its provocations and positively respond to our recent special offers (for talks) aimed at establishing a peace regime".

"It was a good outcome", he said with a smile.

"A non-binding COC would be a disaster of the first order". Discussions on the COC itself, for instance, are expected to be heated and hard.

It strikes a similar note to other tough talk by Xi about China's territorial disputes with its neighbors, including in the South China Sea.

China's territorial disputes in the strategic and potentially oil- and gas-rich waterway with five other governments intensified after it built islands in disputed waters and reportedly started to install a missile defense system on them, alarming rival claimant states, the USA and other Western governments.

China has long called for a two-way freeze in which North Korea would halt nuclear development, while the US would stop joint military exercises with South Korea that Pyongyang views as rehearsals for a future invasion.

"In view of this positive momentum, we reaffirmed our readiness to begin the substantive negotiation on the COC and tasked our Senior Officials to start the negotiation on the COC with China", the ASEAN joint communique said. This is markedly different from the more important summit of leaders in November.

As ASEAN governments work to achieve the enabling environment for businesses to thrive, Duterte called on the private sector to play a bigger role in spurring and sustaining growth.

Sanchez said ASEAN became the world's most successful group after it was established by its five founding members - Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand - in 1967 by signing a declaration in Bangkok, Thailand. Over the next week, throughout the region, programs and activities are planned to promote the ASEAN sense of belonging. Actually, the 10 Asean countries don't have a consensus yet on some of the issues. Then, President Trump himself will come to Manila.

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