US URGES ASEAN MEMBERS TO MINIMIZE DIPLOMATIC TIES WITH N. KOREA

Washington, – US urged Southeast Asian countries (ASEAN) to minimize diplomatic relations with Pyongyang and to fully implement UN sanctions on North Korea, which is working to develop a nuclear-tipped missile capable of reaching the US mainland.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, during his meeting with the Foreign Ministers of Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), also called on nations with competing claims in the South China Sea to cease all island building and militarization while talks aimed at creating a maritime code of conduct were under way.

“We think that more can be done, not just in Southeast Asia,” Tillerson said adding “We are encouraging continued and further steps across all of ASEAN.” Last week, Tillerson called on all countries to suspend or downgrade diplomatic ties with North Korea, saying that Pyongyang abuses diplomatic privileges to help fund its arms programs. He also warned that Washington would sanction foreign firms and people conducting business with North Korea if countries did not act themselves. (QNA)

Source: Qatar News Agency