ASEAN encourages contributions from North Korea in ARF – ASEAN has given North Korea a lifeline ahead of a key security forum that the United States is expected to attend to balance against the intent of the US to isolate Pyongyang over
its continued missile tests.
ASEAN foreign ministers endorsed on Saturday a standalone joint statement on developments in the Korean Peninsula.
"We strongly call upon the DPRK, as a participant in the ASEAN Regional Forum [ARF], to positively contribute to realizing the ARF Vision to maintain the Asia-Pacific as a region of lasting peace, stability, friendship and prosperity," the ministers stated, referring to North Korea.
On Thursday, Washington called on ARF participants to downgrade their engagement with North Korea and pressure the rogue state to abandon its nuclear program.
The Philippines, this year's ASEAN chair, is expected to host 26 parties, including the US, North Korea and the European Union, at the ARF on Monday.
In varying degrees, ASEAN states have been critical of Pyongyang's ongoing missile development, but some countries have emphasized the importance of engaging with the reclusive state.
Outside the UN, the ARF is the only security forum that North Korea partakes in.
The joint statement further emphasizes the need for states and organizations "both within and outside the region" to work in a spirit of mutual trust to overcome security threats and prevent the escalation of potential conflict. ***
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Editing: T.Bintang

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