WATCH | Asean leaders express grave concern over mounting tensions between South, North Korea

April 28, 2017 - 6:33 PM
Reuters file photo of North Korea leader Kim Jong Un

MANILA, Philippines – Foreign ministers of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) have expressed grave concern over the escalating tensions between South and North Korea following the former’s recent nuclear tests and subsequent ballistic missile launches.

“Asean is mindful that instability in the Korean Peninsula seriously impacts the region and beyond,” the ministers said in a statement issued in Manila on Friday, April 28.

Just recently, North Korea during its annual military parade showed off numerous new missiles and launches, two of which were intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM)-sized canisters.

The display drew concerns not only from North Korea’s neighboring countries but also from the United States and Europe because of the possible capability of one of the missiles, the ICBM, to strike targets in these areas.

Asean foreign ministers also urged North Korea to fully comply with its obligations under the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) and the international laws on matters concerning international peace and security.

The UNSC had repeatedly called out North Korea on matters related to its nuclear weapons program. But North Korea had ignored all the council’s resolutions.

Also, Asean leaders urged North Korea and all parties concerned to exercise self-restraint and to refrain from taking actions that might aggravate the situation in order to reduce tensions.

They likewise expressed their support for moves to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula and the resumption of dialogue in the region to pave way to conditions conducive to peace and stability.

North and South Korea have been divided more than 50 years. And despite attempts of peace talks over the years, which resulted to a number of agreements, relations between the two countries have been described as “antagonistic” and “prone to crisis.”