ARF emphasises importance of non-militarisation in East Sea
Updated : Tuesday, August 07, 2018 10:01 AM (GMT+0700)

Foreignministers attending the ASEAN Regional Forum (AFF) in Singapore on August 4emphasised the importance of non-militarization and self-restraint in theconduct of all activities by claimants and all other states and reaffirmed theimportance of maintaining freedom of navigation in and overflight above theEast Sea.

At the event - Source: Kyodo

According to a statementreleased on August 6, the ministers took note of some concerns on the landreclamations and activities in the area, which have eroded trust andconfidence, increased tensions and may undermine peace, security and stabilityin the region.

They reaffirmed the need toenhance mutual trust and confidence, exercise self-restraint in the conduct ofactivities and avoid actions that may further complicate the situation, andpursue peaceful resolution of disputes in accordance with international law.

The ministers took note ofthe agreement between the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) andChina on a single draft negotiating text for an envisaged code of conduct inthe East Sea and emphasised the need to maintain an environment conducive tonegotiations on the code.

The ministers, includingthose of Japan and the US, also called on the Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea (DPRK) to abandon its nuclear weapons in line with leader Kim Jong Un'scommitment to complete denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula.

At the 27-member ARF, theyurged the DPRK "to fulfill its stated commitment to completedenuclearization and its pledge to refrain from further nuclear and missiletests”.

Even though the meetingended on August 4, the chairman's statement was only released on August 6 bythe Foreign Ministry of Singapore which is currently holding the chairmanshipof the 10-member ASEAN. The delay was just to seek everyone's views, said asource.

The ministers welcomed thetwo inter-Korean summits held in April and May and the summit between the DPRKand the US held in June, as well as the joint statements issued at thosemeetings.

They "urged allconcerned parties to continue working towards the realization of lasting peaceand stability on a denuclearized Korean Peninsula, including through the fulland expeditious implementation" of those recent statements.

The ARF comprises the 10ASEAN states – Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, thePhilippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam – plus China, Japan, the US,Russia, the DPRK, the Republic of Korea, India, Pakistan, Australia, NewZealand, Canada, the European Union, Papua New Guinea, Bangladesh, East Timor,Mongolia and Sri Lanka.


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