Korea produces missile-ready nuclear weapons

Frederick Owens
August 13, 2017

Foreign Minister Taro Kono and U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson agreed on Monday that their countries will hold a so-called two-plus-two meeting of the foreign and defense ministers in Washington on August 17.

Japan's Foreign Minister Taro Kono said Monday he briefly chatted with his North Korean counterpart Ri Yong Ho the previous day on the sidelines of a series of Association of Southeast Asian Nations and related meetings.

There was mention in the ASEAN communiqué of a proposed Code of Conduct (COC) in the South China Sea, aimed at maintaining peace in the region through self-restraint in settling disputes.

China will pay the biggest price from the new United Nations sanctions against North Korea because of its close economic relationship with the country, but will always enforce the resolutions, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said.

On Monday, Pyongyang's closest ally expressed his views on North Korea's upfront rejection.

In pursuit of the vision started by the ASEAN founding fathers, President Duterte called for the harnessing of public-private partnership with his co-member states.

Just last week, the President said North Korean leader Kim Jong-un may look chubby and kind but he is actually a "maniac" for playing with unsafe nuclear weapons.

North Korea responded saying under no circumstances will it give up its nukes or put them on the negotiating table.

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ASEAN failed to issue its customary statement on Saturday because of what diplomats said was disagreement about whether to make oblique references to China's rapid expansion of its defence capabilities on artificial islands in disputed waters.

Thornton says the USA wants to ensure that with the new sanctions, there's "not this kind of episodic back and forth that we've seen". China alone is responsible for 90 percent of North Korea's trade, and Russian Federation like China employs North Koreans as contract workers, whose salaries mostly go directly to their government.

"It's a common stand for Asean because the ARF is the lone opportunity for North Korea attends". He was apparently referring to the U.S., which China has, for the longest time, accused of meddling in what it says is an Asian dispute that should be resolved only by the countries involved.

China "hopes North Korea can echo this signal from the United States", Wang added.

"Japan, Australia, and the USA are our friends".

Still, Thornton says China's vote for the sanctions is a good step that shows Beijing understands the gravity of the problem.

"This is really about the spirit of these talks, and they (North Korea) can demonstrate that they're ready to sit with a spirit of finding a way forward in these talks by no longer conducting these missile tests". The two most recent examples of this are at Tree Island and North Island in the Amphitrite Group.

The United States and North Korea's neighbors are joining in a fresh attempt to isolate Pyongyang over its nuclear and missile programs, in a global pressure campaign.

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