ASEAN ministers to hold discussions on DPRK: Philippine FM

Source: Xinhua| 2017-08-04 15:46:41|Editor: Song Lifang
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MANILA, Aug. 4 (Xinhua) -- Foreign ministers of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)'s member countries will discuss how to deal with the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), which has been continuing nuclear weapons testing despite international condemnation, Philippine Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano told reporters.

The ministers will meet for the discussion at an informal dinner Friday night, in preparation for the ASEAN ministerial meeting scheduled on Saturday.

Philippine Acting Department of Foreign Affairs spokesman Robespierre Bolivar said earlier that ASEAN is "very much concerned" about the developments in DPRK.

"All of us surrounding the region are very much concerned about the potential escalation of this issue," Bolivar told a news conference on Thursday.

DPRK is attending the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) on Monday. ARF is a forum for security in Asia established in 1994. It draws together 27 members in the Asia Pacific region.

Bolivar said that ARF is the only venue outside of the UN where DPRK participates in roundtable discussions on security matters with South Korea, Japan, China, Russia, the United States, the European Union and ASEAN.

"It is the only venue thus far that we have to promote candid and free flow dialogue and to actually express our concerns to the DPRK side in a face-to-face manner," Bolivar said.

The ARF is a forum for dialogue where all the parties discuss the situation in the Korean Peninsula issue.

"There is an opportunity for them to exchange views on (security) issues of concern, including the Korean Peninsula," Bolivar said.

Bolivar expressed hope that the participants of ARF this weekend would "try to find some sort of grounds for proceeding to more productive, cooperative dialogue."

Asked if there is a move to expel DPRK, Bolivar said the ARF has no expulsion provisions like article 50 of the Treaty of European Union, where a country can exit.

"If DPRK wants to exit I guess there are no hard and fast rules for it to be prevented from exiting. But as a forum there are no rules for us to determine if this participating country should exit the forum's only inviting countries to join the forum that we have certain criteria but this is not yet been discussed," Bolivar said.