THE Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) has reiterated its call to rid the Korean Peninsula of nuclear weapons as it expressed “grave concern” over North Korea’s missile tests, saying these “seriously threaten peace and stability” in the region.
In the chairman’s final statement on the recently concluded 31st Asean Summit in Manila, the regional bloc urged North Korea to “fully and immediately” follow the resolutions issued by the United Nations Security Council (UNCS), which demanded that Pyongyang cease its nuclear tests.
“We expressed grave concern over the DPRK’s ongoing development of weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear and chemical weapons, and ballistic missile technologies, which are in contravention of UNSC resolutions,” the Asean chairman’s statement read.
“Noting that these developments seriously threaten peace and stability in the entire region and beyond, we strongly urge the DPRK to fully and immediately comply with its obligations arising from all the relevant UN Security Council Resolutions,” it added.
DPRK stands for Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the official name of North Korea.
Tensions between the United States (US) and North Korea worsened after Pyongyang tested its nuclear weapons in recent weeks in a bid to advance its ultimate goal to develop a missile capable of hitting the US mainland.
On July 4, North Korea launched its first test of an intercontinental ballistic missile in an attempt to come up with a powerful weapon that could reach “anywhere in the world.”
The UNSC adopted in September a new resolution that imposed fresh sanctions on North Korea after it carried out its sixth and largest nuclear test.
The Asean statement said the growing tension between the US and North Korea should be resolved through a “peaceful” approach, thus, appealed that the two nations exercise “self-restraint” and start non-adversarial dialogue.
“We reiterated our support for the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula in a peaceful manner and called for the exercise of self-restraint and the resumption of dialogue in order to de-escalate tensions and create conditions conducive to peace and stability,” it said.
Meanwhile, the Asean said it remained resolute in its shared commitment to preserve the Southeast Asian region as a Nuclear Weapon Free Zone and free of all other weapons of mass destruction.
The group also welcomed the decision of the Southeast Asian Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone Treaty (SEANWFZ)
to extend the Plan of Action (POA) on Strengthening the Implementation of the SEANWFZ Treaty for another five-year period (2018-2022) and encouraged the full and effective implementation of the POA.
“We reaffirmed our commitment to continuously engage the Nuclear Weapons States (NWS) and intensify the ongoing efforts of all Parties to resolve all outstanding issues in accordance with the objectives and principles of the SEANWFZ Treaty,” it added.