ASEAN calls for de-escalation of tensions in Korean Peninsula

By Alexis Romero

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In this Nov. 12, 2017 photo provided by South Korea Defense Ministry, three U.S. aircraft carriers USS Nimitz, left top, USS Ronald Reagan, left center, and USS Theodore Roosevelt, left bottom, participate with other U.S. and South Korean navy ships during the joint naval exercises between the United States and South Korea in waters off South Korea's eastern coast in South Korea. The United States and South Korea on Saturday started joint naval exercises that will involve three U.S. aircraft carriers in what military officials describe as a clear warning to North Korea. South Korea Defense Ministry via AP

MANILA, Philippines — Members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations called for the de-escalation of tensions in the Korean Peninsula and urged stakeholders to resolve the issue through negotiations.

The sentiment was expressed during the ASEAN-United States during the 40th anniversary of the ASEAN-US dialogue relations, Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque said.  

“In the ASEAN-US dialogue, North Korea was also discussed. They want to de-escalate the tension and they want all parties to resort to diplomatic talks and negotiations  as a means  of resolving the conflict,” Roque said in a press briefing at the International Media Center in Pasay.

North Korea has been conducting missile tests and enhancing its nuclear capability, a move that sparked concerns among its neighbors.

The ASEAN previously said in a statement that it was gravely concerned over the rogue state’s activities, calling it a threat to regional peace.

Last August, President Rodrigo Duterte described North Korean leader Kim Jong-un as a “maniac” playing with dangerous toys and maintained that a nuclear war is unacceptable.

South Korean President Moon Jae-In did not mention the Korean Peninsula tension in his opening statement during the 19th ASEAN-Republic of Korea Summit, merely emphasizing the need to boost his country’s ties with the regional bloc.

“The Korean government supports the efforts to realize the ASEAN Community. It also wishes to play its role as a key partner in all fields of politics, economy and society. I’m determined to bring Korea and ASEAN relations to a new height,” Moon said.

“As ASEAN and Korea both entering an era of new leaps and development, I believe it is the most appropriate time to upscale the level of bilateral cooperation,” he added.

Moon said he was confident that enhanced cooperation and brethren depth would bring about new benefits and prosperity.

Duterte was scheduled to hold a bilateral meeting with Moon Monday evening.

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