U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis issued a stark warning to North Korea on Wednesday, telling Pyongyang that it should stop any actions that would lead to the "end of its regime and the destruction of its people".
The current chairman is the Philippines, which hosted the group's foreign ministers last weekend.
Diplomats say they believe that Beijing has used its influence over countries who have chaired ASEAN in the past to dilute the group's stand on the South China Sea row, potentially one of the most volatile disputes in Asia. What the ASEAN ministers agreed on with China was the adoption of a framework to help them begin the substantive negotiation on the actual provisions of the COC. He was apparently referring to the USA, which China has, for the longest time, accused of meddling in what it says is an Asian dispute that should be resolved only by the countries involved.
"The South China Sea doesn't only include the Spratly Islands, and for Vietnam, developments on the disputed Paracels are just as destabilising".
It could be recalled that the issue on China's land reclamation and militarization in the South China Sea had been omitted on Asean leaders' joint statement released in May. But the Asian giant had always been perceived as delaying negotiations with Asean for the maritime code to allow it to complete its land reclamations in the South China Sea without any regulatory restrictions. China concluded talks with ASEAN for a negotiating framework for the nonaggression code, a baby step both sides hailed as a milestone. China wants otherwise and opposes mention of the contentious issues, including arbitration and a conflict-resolution arrangement, given its preference to solve the conflicts through one-on-one negotiation with its smaller rival claimants.
Wang said on Monday night that with the joint efforts of China and Asean countries, the situation in the South China Sea has been stabilised, and pragmatic cooperation has unfolded. "It lacks teeth because China has opposed making it legally binding and refused to include a dispute settlement mechanism", said Bonnie Glaser, a senior adviser for Asia at the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies.
The Philippines, together with Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, and Thailand founded ASEAN on August 8, 1967, in Bangkok with the aim of promoting the economic, social and cultural development of the region through cooperative programs in order to safeguard the political and economic stability of the region.
"It's an insult to the worldwide community as a whole, and it's a threat to peace and stability of the region".