Posts Tagged ‘Ri Yong Ho’

France Says Trump Method Not Best Way to Tackle North Korea Crisis — “At the moment we’re at a verbal clash, but there could be an incident. We need to avoid incidents.”

September 27, 2017

PARIS — France’s foreign minister said on Wednesday that Donald Trump’s verbal jousting with North Korea was perhaps not the best method to handle the nuclear crisis and urged the U.S. president to focus his attention on raising diplomatic pressure on Pyongyang.

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Bellicose statements by Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in recent weeks have created fears that a miscalculation could lead to action with untold ramifications, particularly since Pyongyang conducted its sixth and most powerful nuclear test on Sept. 3.

“Trump’s method is perhaps not the best, but at the same time we shouldn’t mix up the responsibilities,” Jean-Yves Le Drian told BFM TV. “The country that is breaking with nuclear international agreements is North Korea. President Trump is reacting forcefully to this, but without a doubt there is a way to act in a different way by putting pressure and sanctions.”

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Jean-Yves Le Drian, France’s foreign minister

North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho on Monday accused Trump of declaring war on North Korea and threatened that Pyongyang would shoot down U.S. warplanes flying near the Korean Peninsula after American bombers flew close to it last Saturday.

The North Korean minister was reacting to Trump’s Twitter comments that Kim and Ri “won’t be around much longer” if they acted on their threats toward the United States.

Le Drian repeated that a maximum amount of pressure needed to be placed on Pyongyang to get it back to the negotiating table, but warned there was a risk of an accidental military escalation.

“The world is living in a dangerous period,” he said. “At the moment we’re at a verbal clash, but there could be an incident. We need to avoid incidents.”

(Reporting by John Irish; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta)

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Ri Yong-ho at the UN with Secretary General António Guterres


N. Korea’s foreign minister says Trump is ‘mentally deranged’

September 24, 2017


© Jewel Samad, AFP | North Korea’s Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho addresses the 72nd session of the United Nations General assembly at the UN headquarters in New York on September 23, 2017.


Latest update : 2017-09-24

North Korea’s foreign minister assailed US President Donald Trump at the United Nations on Saturday, deriding him as a “mentally deranged” leader whose threats had increased the chances of military confrontation.

Ri Yong-ho told the General Assembly that Trump‘s vow to “totally destroy” his country if necessary had made “our rockets’ visit to the entire US mainland all the more inevitable.”

Describing Trump as a “mentally deranged person full of megalomania,” Ri said the US leader who “holds the nuclear button” posed “the gravest threat to international peace and security today.”

In his first address to the General Assembly on Tuesday, Trump called leader Kim Jong-Un a “Rocket Man” on a “suicide mission,” prompting Kim to warn in turn that the US president would “pay dearly” for his threat.

Ri accused Trump of turning the United Nations into a “gangsters’ nest where money is respected and bloodshed is the order of the day,” and of insulting Kim.

“None other than Trump himself is on a suicide mission,” he declared.

The North Korean nuclear crisis has dominated this year’s gathering of world leaders at the United Nations amid fears that the heated rhetoric could accidentally trigger a war.

North Korea in recent weeks detonated its sixth nuclear bomb and has test-fired intercontinental missiles — saying it needs to defend itself against hostility from the United States and its allies.

Trump later responded on Twitter, insulting Kim once more and appearing to threaten both men.

“Just heard Foreign Minister of North Korea speak at U.N. If he echoes thoughts of Little Rocket Man, they won’t be around much longer!” he wrote late Saturday night.

Nuclear hammer of justice

The United States led a push at the United Nations for tough sanctions that were adopted on September 11, and has imposed unilateral measures to punish firms that do business with North Korea.

Calling the sanctions resolutions unjustified, Ri said that Pyongyang was left with no other choice but to respond with the “nuclear hammer of justice.”He stressed that North Korea’s nuclear drive was aimed at developing a “war deterrent” and declared that his country was a “responsible nuclear weapon state.”

North Korea will take “preemptive action” if the United States and its allies attempt to carry out a “decapitating operation on our headquarters or military attack against our country,” he said.

Declaring that the missile and nuclear tests were a source of “prestige” for his country, Ri said sanctions would not succeed in forcing his government to change course.

Ri then met for 30 minutes with UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, who expressed concern over the escalating tensions and emphasized the need for a political solution, a UN spokesman said.

Just hours before Ri took the UN podium, US bombers flew off the east coast of North Korea, flying the furthest north of the demilitarized zone of any US aircraft this century.

The Pentagon said the mission was a “demonstration of US resolve and a clear message that the president has many military options to defeat any threat.”


North Korea Warns of Hydrogen-Bomb Test Over Pacific Ocean

September 22, 2017

Threat made in response to U.S. president’s speech before U.N.; Kim Jong Un calls Donald Trump ‘mentally deranged’

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un

SEOUL—North Korea’s foreign minister said the country could detonate a hydrogen bomb over the Pacific Ocean in response to President Donald Trump’s speech before the United Nations that warned the U.S. would annihilate North Korea if forced to defend itself or its allies.

The threat, made in remarks by North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho in New York, would mark a dramatic escalation in action from Pyongyang, which in the past month has already launched two intermediate-range ballistic missiles over Japan and tested what it claimed was a hydrogen bomb.

“In my opinion, perhaps we might consider a historic aboveground test of a hydrogen bomb over the Pacific Ocean,” Mr. Ri said in a video broadcast on a South Korean news channel. The last aboveground nuclear detonation in the world was China’s atmospheric test of a hydrogen bomb on Oct. 16, 1980.

North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho at Beijing airport this month.
North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho at Beijing airport this month. PHOTO: MARK SCHIEFELBEIN/ASSOCIATED PRESS

Mr. Ri said he didn’t know for sure what North Korean leader Kim Jong Un was planning.

The remarks from Mr. Ri came hours after Mr. Kim said through Pyongyang’s state media early on Friday that he was considering the “highest level of hard-line countermeasure” after Mr. Trump’s speech.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in, who was flying from New York to Seoul, didn’t have any comment, a spokesman said. The U.S. State Department didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Japan’s top government spokesman said on Friday it was “completely unacceptable” that North Korea was threatening regional security.

Asked at a press conference about Mr. Ri’s threat of a nuclear test in the Pacific, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said Japan was prepared for any possibility.

Scott LaFoy, a U.S.-based missile analyst, said North Korea could follow through on such a threat, although many questions remained about North Korea’s missile capabilities, including whether it can miniaturize a nuclear weapon to fit on the tip of a missile and whether it can make a warhead robust enough to survive re-entry through the Earth’s atmosphere.

Still, such a provocation was within the realm of possibility, Mr. LaFoy said.

“It’s been on my list of ‘possible cases’ for a couple of weeks now,” he said.

​It was also theoretically possible for North Korea to carry out the threat by loading a hydrogen bomb onto a ship and detonating it in the Pacific, Mr. LaFoy said. ​

Trump Threatens to ‘Destroy’ North Korea
President Donald Trump threatened to “totally destroy North Korea” if the U.S. is forced to defend itself or its allies against Pyongyang’s aggression, in his speech to the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday. Photo: Reuters

Hours before Mr. Ri’s remarks, Mr. Kim, in a rare first-person statement published through the official Korean Central News Agency, said Mr. Trump was a “gangster fond of playing with fire” who was unfit to be president and described his U.N. remarks as the “mentally deranged behavior” of a frightened leader.

“I am now thinking hard about what response he could have expected when he allowed such eccentric words to trip off his tongue,” Mr. Kim said in the statement. “Whatever Trump might have expected, he will face results beyond his expectation.”

Mr. Kim didn’t specify what countermeasures he had in mind but warned he would “definitely tame the mentally deranged U.S. dotard with fire,” suggesting the possibility of further nuclear and missile tests.

During his first speech before the U.N. General Assembly on Tuesday, Mr. Trump described Mr. Kim as “Rocket Man” on a “suicide mission” and warned that the U.S. could “totally destroy North Korea” if it was forced to defend itself or its allies.

Mr. Kim said he had expected Mr. Trump to stick to some of his previous rhetoric during his U.N. speech but he was taken aback by Mr. Trump’s bellicosity.

“The mentally deranged behavior of the U.S. president openly expressing on the U.N. arena the unethical will to ‘totally destroy’ a sovereign state…makes even those with normal thinking faculty think about discretion and composure,” Mr. Kim said.

He added: “I’d like to advise Trump to exercise prudence in selecting words and to be considerate of whom he speaks to when making a speech in front of the world.”

The Korean Central News Agency also took a swipe at Chinese state media for their criticisms of North Korea’s recent behavior.

In a vitriolic commentary published Friday, KCNA lambasted the Communist Party’s flagship newspaper People’s Daily and its sister publication, the nationalist Global Times tabloid, for recent articles that “insulted” North Korea with “extremely ill-boding words.”

The agency also attacked Chinese media for “openly resorting to interference in the internal affairs of another country,” describing such acts as “little short of driving a wedge between the two countries.”

“The Chinese media had better watch how the DPRK smashes the hostile forces’ arrogance and highhanded practices, rather than kowtowing to the ignorant acts of the Trump administration,” KCNA said, referring to North Korea by its preferred name.

KCNA derided Chinese President Xi Jinping’s diplomatic exchanges with Mr. Trump, accusing China of “going under the armpit of the U.S. while holding a white flag to blame the good neighbor.”

“The DPRK does not have to lie on its face just as China did when it visited the U.S.,” the Pyongyang-based agency said, in an apparent reference to the April meeting between Messrs. Xi and Trump in Florida.

Write to Jonathan Cheng at


North Korea could test hydrogen bomb over Pacific Ocean, says foreign minister


Updated 12:39 AM ET, Fri September 22, 2017

North Korea’s foreign minister hinted Thursday that Pyongyang could test a powerful nuclear weapon over the Pacific Ocean in response to US President Donald Trump’s threats of military action.


Story highlights

  • Statement was written by Kim Jong Un, according to North Korean state media
  • US President Trump threatened to destroy North Korea

(CNN)North Korea’s foreign minister warned Thursday that Pyongyang could test a powerful nuclear weapon over the Pacific Ocean in response to US President Donald Trump’s threats of military action.

The country’s Foreign Minister, Ri Yong Ho, told reporters in New York that the ultimate decision, however, was up to his boss, Kim Jong Un. Ri was due to address the United Nations General Assembly on Friday but has since dropped out.

“This could probably mean the strongest hydrogen bomb test over the Pacific Ocean. Regarding which measures to take, I don’t really know since it is what Kim Jong Un does,” said Ri.

Ri’s comments came shortly after Kim said that Trump would “pay dearly” for threatening to “totally destroy” North Korea during his UN speech Tuesday.

In a rare direct statement, Kim said he “will consider with seriousness exercising of a corresponding, highest level of hard-line countermeasure in history.”

“I am now thinking hard about what response he could have expected when he allowed such eccentric words to trip off his tongue,” Kim said. “I will surely and definitely tame the mentally deranged US dotard with fire.”

A dotard is a senile old person.

Kim also said the comments were reflective of “mentally deranged behavior.”

First-person first?

The phrase “highest level of hard-line countermeasure in history” could be considered an escalation in the choice of language used, said Vipin Narang, a professor of political science at MIT and expert on deterrence and nuclear policy.

“This is clearly trying to coerce the US into playing ball,” Narang told CNN.

In his first address to the United Nations as US President, Trump said that the US was ready to “totally destroy” North Korea if it was forced to defend its allies, a warning seen as unprecedented for a US president delivering an address to the world’s leaders and top diplomats.

Trump at UN threatens to ‘totally destroy’ North Korea 04:35

Responding to the speech, Kim said Trump’s comments amounted to an insult. “I’d like to advise Trump to exercise prudence in selecting words and to be considerate of whom he speaks to when making a speech in front of the world,” Kim said.

A handful of North Korea analysts believe that this is the first time Kim Jong Un has ever released a first-person statement.

“This is unprecedented, as far as we can tell,” Narang told CNN. “He was clearly offended by the speech, and what concerns me most is the response he says he is considering.”

Kim Jong Un’s response to @realDonaldTrump’s UN speech. Written in first person, released by #NorthKorea media:

— Josh Berlinger (@j_berlingerCNN) September 22, 2017Asked to respond to Kim’s statement, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders told CNN on Thursday night, “Not at this time.”

North Korea was scheduled to speak at the UN General Assembly Friday night, but dropped off of its planned roster spot. The country could still get a slot at another time.


Ri Yong Ho: Trump’s threats ‘a dog’s barking’ 00:34

More sanctions

The White House, meanwhile, took the another step in its so-called “peaceful pressure” campaign to rein in Pyongyang’s nuclear program, expanding sanctions on North Korea and those who do business with the country.

Though the majority of North Korea’s imports come from China, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said “This action is directed at everyone” and the steps are “in no way specifically directed at China.”


Trump signs executive order on North Korea 01:38

The executive order Trump inked just ahead of the lunch enhances Treasury Department authorities to target individuals who provide goods, services or technology to North Korea, Trump said. He said the order would also allow the US to identify new industries — including textiles, fishing and manufacturing — as potential targets for future actions.

CNN’s Kevin Liptak contributed to this report.

Includes videos:

Philippine News Agency Criticized For Using Xinhua Article On South China Sea Dispute

August 9, 2017
Originally by Chinese news wire agency Xinhua, the story – titled “Time to turn a new leaf on South China Sea issue” – was released on the PNA website on Sunday. File

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine News Agency (PNA) is in hot water anew after it released an article that appears to side with China on the South China Sea issue.

Originally by Chinese news wire agency Xinhua, the story – titled “Time to turn a new leaf on South China Sea issue” – was released on the PNA website on Sunday.

It focused on China’s supposed commitment to improving the situation in the South China Sea, at one point calling the ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration on the Philippine case “ill-founded.”

The commentary noted that China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) signed the 2002 Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea to “directly resolve their territorial and jurisdictional disputes through peaceful means.”

“More than one year after an ill-founded award at a South China Sea arbitration unilaterally delivered by an ad hoc tribunal in The Hague, the situation in the South China Sea has stabilized and improved thanks to the wisdom and sincerity of China and the parties concerned,” the article read, referring to the ruling that voided Beijing’s claims over the whole of the South China Sea by affirming the Philippines’ maritime entitlements.

“China always respects the freedom of navigation and overflight in the South China Sea in compliance with international law, but it should by no means be used as an excuse by certain countries outside the region to stir up trouble,” it added.

President Duterte has expressed willingness to temporarily set aside the ruling to improve the Philippines’ ties with China. But he promised to bring up the tribunal’s decision before Chinese leaders within his term.

PNA has since taken down the article, although it is still available through the Google web cache (

Netizens immediately criticized PNA for releasing the story, questioning the state-funded agency for supposedly being a mouthpiece of China.

“What’s this? This must be a mistake! PNA becoming a mouthpiece of China? PNA criticizing in effect tribunal ruling in favor of PH?!” former Cabinet official and Parañaque representative Roilo Golez said on Twitter.

“Is PNA funded by China now? It looks like it is now,” another added.

Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Martin Andanar said he has asked PNAofficials to explain why they should not face administrative charges for posting the Xinhua commentary.

“We have already sent a (memorandum) to PNA to explain in writing why they should not be held liable for any administrative charges,” Andanar said in a statement.

“We will take appropriate action against liable PNA officials and/or staff, if they are found to commit negligence in carrying out their duties and responsibilities,” he added.




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China says it has sovereignty over all the South China Sea north of its “nine dash line.” On July 12, 2016, the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague said this claim by China was not valid. But China chose to ignore international law.

Hurrah for Vietnam, the country with cojones

August 9, 2017

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VIETNAM PROVIDED THE ONLY REAL DRAMA at the ASEAN conference. Here, Vietnam Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh (at left in blue) is the only one brave enough to challenge China at the ASEAN conference in the Philippines, August 5, 2017. At right, Philippine Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano tries to write language that Vietnam can agree to. POOL photo

Hurrah for Vietnam, the country with cojones. You can understand why the Vietnamese have defeated every powerful country that invaded or attacked a land that produced courageous patriots like Ho Chi Minh and Vo Nguyen Giap. In their victories, the Vietnamese didn’t even have any help from the United Nations or any UN-supported court.

These days Vietnam is taking on its giant neighbor, practically all by itself in a sea of compliant Chinese satellites in Southeast Asia. Given the history of Vietnam, it’s doubtful that it will be deterred by the lack of support for its maritime territorial cause from its fellow members in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations led by the current holder of the revolving chair, the Philippines.

Perhaps if Vietnam also filed a case against China before the UN-backed Permanent Arbitration Court in The Hague, international support may be mustered for the implementation of the PAC ruling last year that invalidated Beijing’s claim over nearly all of the South China Sea.

The Philippines, the clear winner in last year’s landmark ruling, should have taken the lead role in rallying international support for compliance with the PAC ruling. Beijing, after all, can be reasonable and has implemented reforms in the past to comply with global rules. Any nation that wants respect on the world stage cannot thumb its nose at international rules, especially those it has itself ratified, such as the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

Instead the Philippines, under the current leadership, has decided to set aside the ruling as a way of poking critics in the eye – notably those condemning its human rights record such as the UN, the European Commission and the US (under the Obama administration).

President Duterte then announced a pivot to US rival China. So far, by his own admission, he’s finding it difficult to get even his own loyal military forces to go along with his pivot and turn their backs on treaty ally the United States.

This is especially difficult when the troops see the Chinese rapidly constructing artificial islands all over the South China Sea – including areas specifically awarded by the arbitral court to the Philippines such as Panganiban or Mischief Reef off Palawan. Now the islands are being equipped for military purposes. You have to be blind or high on banned substances not to see this happening.

The Armed Forces of the Philippines is tasked with external defense, which includes protecting Philippine maritime territory. The Chinese island-building and militarization pose problems for the AFP that the commander-in-chief cannot ignore.

Duterte has often expressed regret at having to send AFP members to possible death in Marawi and other conflict zones in Mindanao. Government troops like this President because they can sense that he genuinely grasps the gravity of asking soldiers to be ready to die for their country.

But the President should put his ears closer to the ground at AFP and defense department headquarters at Camp Aguinaldo. There he can hear grumblings about his seeming failure to grasp the threat that soldiers may have to confront one day in the South China Sea – specifically, in the area awarded to the country under UNCLOS as exclusive economic zones, which we call the West Philippine Sea.

* * *

This does not mean that warmer ties with the world’s second largest economy aren’t welcome. President Duterte deserves credit for this.

China is among the oldest friends of the Philippines; the two countries are linked not just by historical, cultural and economic bonds but also blood ties. I am just one of millions of Filipinos with ancestral roots in southern China.

For friendship to endure, however, it must be anchored on mutual respect. There is no respect in encroaching on your neighbor’s territory, which any map will show is way beyond your part of the planet. You don’t even need the UNCLOS for this; good neighbors know where to set reasonable boundaries.

Even President Duterte is aware of the importance of international rules, at least when it comes to trade.

Duterte has emphasized that he is not junking the PAC ruling, but merely waiting for the right time to bring it up with Beijing. For now, he prefers to focus on mending fences first with China and expanding cooperation in many other areas such as fighting the drug menace and terrorism as well as improving public works infrastructure.

It’s a sound approach for dealing with the “face”-sensitive, nationalistic Chinese after the arbitral court ruling.

But the President will have to present to the nation soon some positive consequence of his government’s rapprochement with Beijing. The AFP is waiting for it; Filipinos are waiting for it.

The one time that he raised the issue with his Chinese counterpart, he was threatened with war. Sure, the threat was softened by handshakes and grins and the diplomatese of formal meetings between the leader of a host country and a guest. But the message was unequivocal: if Duterte pushed through with Philippine exploration for minerals in waters declared as part of its economic zone by a UN-backed court, it would mean war with China.

How did we react to the threat? With bowing and scraping before the masters of the South China Sea.

ASEAN, especially under its current chair, has been largely useless against the masters. Its ministers issued an unsurprising, non-binding statement calling for self-restraint and “non-militarization” in the South China Sea – already a fait accompli.

China was the clear winner at the ASEAN gathering in Manila.




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China says it has sovereignty over all the South China Sea north of its “nine dash line.” On July 12, 2016, the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague said this claim by China was not valid. But China chose to ignore international law.

Recap of ASEAN Discussions in the Philippines

August 8, 2017
Foreign Ministers, from left, South Korea’s Kang Kyung-wha, Japan’s Taro Kono, Philippines’ Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano, China’s Wang Yi and Singapore’s Vivian Balakrishnan walk after a family photo before the 18th ASEAN Plus Three Foreign Ministers Meeting, part of the 50th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Regional Forum (ARF) meeting in Manila, Philippines, Monday, Aug. 7, 2017. Mohd Rasfan/Pool Photo via AP

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines hosted a series of meetings of foreign ministers from Southeast Asia and the region, with the tensions on the Korean Peninsula and the South China Sea topping their agenda.

Here are the key developments and events surrounding the ASEAN summitry in Manila:


The stronger-than-expected communique

In a surprise move, ASEAN ministers issued a strong statement indirectly criticizing Beijing’s island-building and military-fortification activities in the South China Sea, defying Chinese stance on the issue.

In the bloc’s joint communique issued Sunday evening, the region’s top diplomats said that “land reclamations and activities in the area” have eroded trust and confidence, increased tensions and may undermine the peace and stability of the region.

The statement also made a vague reference to a UN arbitral ruling last year that invalidated Beijing’s expansive claims over the area.

The ministers also underscored the importance of “non-militarization and self-restraint” in the region to avoid further complicating and escalating tensions in the South China Sea.

The sea code outline

Although Southeast Asian nations and China agreed to adopt on Sunday a framework they could use to negotiate a code of conduct in the South China Sea, critics said that the outline’s failure to make the pact legally binding and to have a resolution mechanism made its effectiveness questionable.

The outline also provides a wide latitude to the negotiating parties which could result in disputes.

The Philippines and Vietnam still prefer the pact coming out of the framework to be legally enforceable, something Beijing would not assent to.

Critics say that China’s sudden interest in the talks for the code was just a ploy to elongate negotiation as it consolidates its activities in the South China Sea where it has built man-made islands and installed military facilities.

It also comes as the intentions of the US in the region become uncertain under the administration of US President Donald Trump. This, analysts say, weakens the negotiating muscle of the region.

The Chinese agenda for South China Sea talks

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi gestures as he answers questions from reporters after attending the 24th ASEAN Regional Forum in Manila, Philippines, on Monday, Aug. 7, 2017. AP/Aaron Favila

China said on Sunday that talks on a code of conduct in the South China Sea may start within the year if “outside parties” would not cause a major disruption.

China’s foreign minister, Wang Yi, said that the start of the negotiations on the pact that would aim to prevent clashes in the disputed waters may be announced by the leaders of China and the ten member-states of ASEAN in their summit in the Philippines in November if their conditions were met.

Apparently referring to the US, Wang said that one of the conditions for the start of the talks would be non-interference by “outside parties.”

The strong words of US, Australia, Japan on the South China Sea

The foreign ministers of the US, Japan and Australia on Monday called for a halt on land reclamation and military activities in the South China Sea.

Secretary of State Tillerson, Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop and Japan’s chief diplomat Taro Kono also called on the parties to the dispute to comply with the United Nations arbitral ruling last year that invalidated most of China’s expansive claims in the area.

They also voiced their concerns over the maritime dispute where $3.37 trillion worth of trade passes through each year.

They said in a joint statement: “The ministers voiced their strong opposition to coercive unilateral actions that could alter the status quo and increase tensions.”

Freedom of navigation and overflight, and internationally lawful uses of the seas should also be respected, according to the three top envoys.

Their statement on the issue was stronger than the stand of the 10-nation Association of Southeast Asian Nations, many of whom rely heavily on China for trade and investments.

ASEAN’s strong rebuke of North Korea

The Southeast Asia’s top diplomats slammed North Korea over its launch of intercontinental ballistic missiles in July and told Pyongyang to observe its obligations arising from United Nations resolution.

The foreign ministers of the 10 member-states of ASEAN said that the North’s tests of missiles capable of reaching mainland United States were a threat to the peace and stability in the region and the world.

The isolated country should also comply with its obligations in “relevant U.N. Security Council Resolutions,” the ministers said in the final draft of their joint communique.

The bloc also expressed its support for the peaceful denuclearization of the two Koreas, which technically remain at war with each other, and initiatives that would improve the relationship between Seoul and Pyongyang aimed at establishing peace on the peninsula.

The ‘no’ from North Korea

North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho, left, arrives for the closing ceremony of the 50th ASEAN Foreign Ministers Meeting and its 50th Grand Celebration Tuesday Aug. 8, 2017 at the Philippine International Convention Center in suburban Pasay City, Philippines. Finding his seat in foreground is Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi. AP/Bullit Marquez

The North Korean foreign minister on Monday rejected putting their nuclear and missiles program on the negotiating table after the United Nations Security Council agreed on a sweeping set of sanctions on Pyongyang.

Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho said that his country would not use its nuclear weapons on any country “except the US.” He said that this would change only if another country joined the Americans in an action against Pyongyang.

He added that the North was ready to give Washington “a severe lesson with its nuclear strategic force.” He also said that the responsibility over the tensions on the Korean Peninsula lies with Washington.

ALSO READ: North Korea to ASEAN: Distinguish danger of nuclear issue vs ‘America First’ policy

The human rights-less meeting between Duterte, Tillerson

U.S. State Secretary Rex Tillerson, left, chats with Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte during the former’s courtesy call at Malacanang Palace in Manila, Philippines, Monday, Aug. 7, 2017. AP/Bullit Marquez

President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday dismissed media questions about his government’s human rights record and the American concern over this.

Instead, Duterte and US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson focused on the alliance between the two countries and the North Korean missile and nuclear arms program. Tillerson is the most senior Trump administration official to date who has met with Duterte.

“Human rights, son of a bitch,” Duterte said. “Policemen and soldiers have died on me. The war now in Marawi, what caused it but drugs? So human rights, don’t go there.”

The Philippine president said that he shouldn’t be questioned about human rights considering the serious challenges he was facing.

The commitment against terror

The ministers of the members of ASEAN renewed their commitment to fight terrorism and prevent the so-called Islamic State from establishing a foothold in the region.

“In line with this, we reaffirmed our commitment to fight ISIS and other violent extremist groups to effectively curb their spread, as well as preventing them from gaining a foothold in the region,” the communiqué of the group read, referring to IS by its variant.

The top diplomats of the region also reiterated the need for a comprehensive, just and sustainable solution to the Palestine-Israel conflict in order to achieve peace and stability in West Asia (Middle East). — Video by Efigenio Toledo IV

North Korea Refuses To Negotiate, Threatens US With “Severe Nuclear Lesson”

August 7, 2017

From Zero Hedge

For all the hope that this weekend’s UN breakthrough, in which the Security Council voted unanimously 15-0 to impose $1 billion in sanctions on North Korea exports, that saw both China and Russia side with the US, would lead to a resolution of the North Korean crisis, it appears that the rogue regime refuses to even contemplate a negotiation or a cooling of tensions and on Monday, North Korea threatened to use nuclear weapons against the U.S. if provoked militarily and said it would “under no circumstances” negotiate on its nuclear and missile weapons programs.

In a written statement handed to reporters on the sidelines of a regional security forum in Manila, North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho said the regime had developed nuclear weapons as a legitimate option for self-defense “in the face of a clear and real nuclear threat posed by the U.S.”  He said the U.S. had sought United Nations sanctions against Pyongyang in an effort to disguise a conflict with the regime as an international issue. The world was “becoming gradually aware of the danger” of President Donald Trump’s ”America First” policy of prioritizing U.S. interests in international affairs, Ri added.

This was North Korea’s first official response to the fresh sanctions voted through by the UN security council.

As Reuters elaboratesNorth Korea is ready to give the United States a “severe lesson” with its strategic nuclear force if it takes military action against it, and will not put its nuclear program or its missiles on the negotiating table, it said in a statement to a regional meeting on Monday.

In a transcript of a statement by Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho, which was distributed to media in Manila, Pyongyang called new U.N. sanctions “fabricated” and warned there would be “strong follow-up measures” and acts of justice. It said the resolution showed the United Nations had abused its authority.

As quoted by Bloomberg, North Korea asked Asean and participants in regional forum in Manila to “take impartial and practical stand and attitude” on its nuclear weapons, which it says it has no intention of using against any other country except U.S. and those that will join America.

“We take great pride and self-conceit in the fact that we can contribute to decisively reducing the danger of war on the Korean Peninsula, Northeast Asia and in the Asia Pacific by possessing a strong nuclear deterrence,” Yong Ho says in statement at Asean Regional Forum, a copy of which was distributed to reporters in Manila

North Korea expects forum and Asean “will distinguish the essence of the nuclear issue of the Korean peninsula and the danger of the ‘America First’ policy” as foreign ministers showing great deal of interest in situation in Korean peninsula. The foreign minister also accused Japan, South Korean authorities of “kowtowing blindly to U.S.”

He said that North Korea seeks to convince UN to withdraw sanctions and to persuade U.S. to drop its hostile policy:

“Had it not been the hostile policy enforced by the U.S. for more than 70 years against North Korea since the first day if its founding and had the policy not been intensified with an undisguised nuclear blackmail and threat, the nuclear issue of the Korean Peninsula would not have come into being from the beginning.

North Korea also said its intercontinental ballistic missile tests in July proved that the entire United States was in its firing range, and those missiles were a legitimate means of self-defense.

On Sunday night Donald Trump tweeted that he had “Just completed call with President Moon of South Korea. Very happy and impressed with 15-0 United Nations vote on North Korea sanctions.”

Just completed call with President Moon of South Korea. Very happy and impressed with 15-0 United Nations vote on North Korea sanctions.

While Trump, who is on “working vacation” for the next two weeks, is up early, tweeting up another firestorm this morning, he has yet to respond to the latest rebuttal from North Korea.

North Korea Says ‘Under No Circumstances’ Will It Negotiate Over Nuclear Weapons — Has no intention of using nuclear weapons against any country “except the U.S.”

August 7, 2017

Pyongyang threatened it will use its nuclear weapons against U.S. if provoked militarily


Updated Aug. 7, 2017 8:07 a.m. ET

MANILA—North Korea on Monday threatened to use nuclear weapons against the U.S. if provoked militarily and said it would “under no circumstances” negotiate on its nuclear and missile weapons programs.

In a written statement handed to reporters on the sidelines of a regional security forum in Manila, North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho said the regime had developed nuclear weapons as a legitimate option for self-defense “in the face of a clear and real nuclear threat posed by the U.S.”  He said the U.S. had sought United Nations sanctions against Pyongyang in an effort to disguise a conflict with the regime as an international issue.


The Associated Press

MANILA, Philippines (AP) — The Latest on the diplomatic crisis over North Korea (all times local):

8:00 p.m.

North Korean’s top diplomat says “under no circumstances” will it put its nuclear weapons or ballistic missiles on the negotiating table.

Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho also says that his country has no intention of using nuclear weapons against any country “except the U.S.” He says the only way that would change is if another country joined in an American action against North Korea.

Ri had been scheduled to hold a news conference in Manila, Philippines, where Asian diplomats are gathered for a meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. Instead, Ri’s spokesman handed reporters a copy of a speech that Ri had given at the meeting.

Ri says in the speech that responsibility for the Korean Peninsula crisis lies solely with Washington. He says the North is “ready to teach the U.S. a severe lesson with its nuclear strategic force.”


3:20 p.m.

Armed with extraordinary new U.N. sanctions, nations are racing to ensure that North Korea’s biggest trading partners actually carry them out, an elusive task that has undercut past attempts to strong-arm Pyongyang into abandoning its nuclear weapons.

President Donald Trump is demanding full and speedy implementation of the new penalties. But his top diplomat is also laying out a narrow path for the North to return to negotiations.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says if the North stops testing missiles for an “extended period,” the U.S. might deem North Korea ready to talk. But he says it won’t be a matter of a mere 30-day pause leading to the U.S. being willing to talk.

Tillerson says, “We’ll know it when we see it.”




N. Korea Vows ‘Thousands-Fold’ Revenge on U.S. Over Sanctions


North Korea has threatened “righteous” revenge against the U.S., following new United Nations sanctions in response to Pyongyang’s recent intercontinental ballistic missile tests. In a statement circulated by state-run media, North Korea said the economic sanctions passed over the weekend constitute a “violent violation of our sovereignty” and a “heinous plot to isolate and stifle” the reclusive regime.


The new sanctions could considerably slash the country’s $3 billion in export revenue. Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, called the measures “the single largest economic sanctions package ever leveled” against Pyongyang.


North Korea vows to retaliate against US over sanctions

August 7, 2017

BBC News

South Korean soldiers stand guard before North Korea's Panmon Hall (rear C) and the military demarcation line separating North and South Korea, at Panmunjom, on 6 August
Tensions between North and South have intensified as Pyongyang continues its missile tests. AFP

North Korea has vowed to retaliate and make “the US pay a price” for drafting fresh UN sanctions over its banned nuclear weapons programme.

The sanctions, which were unanimously passed by the UN on Saturday, were a “violent violation of our sovereignty,” the official KCNA news agency said.

Separately, South Korea says the North has rejected an offer to restart talks, dismissing it as insincere.

The sanctions will aim to reduce North Korea’s export revenues by a third.

The unanimous UN Security Council decision followed repeated missile tests by the North which have escalated tensions on the peninsula.

In its first major response on Monday, North Korea insisted that it would continue to develop its controversial nuclear weapons programme.

The state-run KCNA news agency said Pyongyang would “not put our self-defensive nuclear deterrent on the negotiating table” while it faces threats from the US.

It threatened to make the US “pay the price for its crime…thousands of times,” referring to America’s role in drafting the UN sanctions resolution.

‘Insincere offer’

The remarks come after reports emerged that the North and South Korean foreign ministers had met briefly on Sunday evening on the sidelines of a regional forum in the Philippine capital, Manila.

South Korean media reported that its foreign minister, Kang Kyung-wha, had shaken hands with her North Korean counterpart, Ri Yong Ho, in a brief and unarranged meeting at an official dinner event held by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) .

A South Korea official told the BBC that Mr Ri had dismissed his counterpart’s offer of talks as “insincere”.

North Korea’s second intercontinental missile launched last month was “seen from Japan”

South Korean news agency Yonhap reported Ms Kang as saying that Mr Ri’s rejection of the talks proposal appeared to be connected with the new sanctions.

“I told him that [the two offers for talks] are an urgent matter that should be carried out immediately with any political agenda put aside and asked him to proactively react,” she was quoted as saying.

The foreign minister of China, which is Pyongyang’s closest ally, told journalists on Monday: “My feeling is that the North did not entirely reject the positive proposals raised by the South.” Wang Yi added that China also supported the South’s initiatives.

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What are the new sanctions?

North Korean labourers work beside the Yalu River at the North Korean town of Sinuiju on February 8, 2013 which is close to the Chinese city of Dandong. Piles of coal are seen.
Image copyright  AFP
  • Importing coal, seafood, iron and iron ore, lead and lead ore from North Korea is banned
  • Countries cannot receive new North Korean workers
  • No new joint ventures with North Korean entities or individuals
  • No new investment in existing joint ventures
  • More individuals targeted with travel bans and assets freezes
  • Member states to report to Security Council within 90 days on how they have implemented resolution
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US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is also at the Asean forum, where he spoke about North Korea.

Noting Russia and China’s participation in the unanimous vote, he told journalists it was clear there was now “no daylight among the international community” on their desire for North Korea to stop its tests.

Russia and China have previously differed with others on how to handle Pyongyang, but in recent months have joined calls for North Korea to stop its missile tests while also urging the US and South Korea to halt military drills.

On Monday, US President Donald Trump spoke to his South Korean counterpart Moon Jae-in over the phone about relations on the Korean peninsula.

They agreed that North Korea “poses a grave and growing direct threat” and the two leaders were committed to fully implementing the latest round of UN sanctions, the White House said in a statement.

New North Korea Sanctions Are in a Race With Pyongyang’s Missile Development

August 7, 2017

U.N. Security Council action aims to close loopholes, but many Asian nations have ties to Pyongyang

Image may contain: 2 people, suit

© POOL/AFP | US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi supported a tough stance on Pyongyang’s arsenal


Updated Aug. 6, 2017 9:42 p.m. ET

MANILA—The United Nations Security Council passed the toughest-ever economic sanctions against North Korea over the weekend. Now comes the hard part: making them stick, and fast.

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson met here Sunday with counterparts from China, Russia, and a host of Asian countries as he sought to build momentum to isolate North Korea. He described the sanctions as “a good outcome.”


Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, who met Sunday in Manila with his North Korean counterpart, said Beijing has urged Pyongyang “to stop the missile tests and even nuclear research which violate U.N. Security Council resolutions and the wishes of the international community.”

There is one major obstacle, however: Time is running out. The most recent missile launched by the regime at the end of July would be able to fly more than 6,400 miles, according to one analysis, putting Los Angeles, Denver and Chicago within range. Some experts believe North Korea could develop a nuclear missile capable of handling atmospheric re-entry as early as next year.

“The problem with sanctions alone is that we don’t have that kind of time,” said Leon Sigal, director of the New York-based Northeast Asia Cooperative Security Project, pointing to lags between when sanctions are implemented and enforced and when the economic effects are felt. “They’re very close to an ICBM.”

The Security Council has passed eight rounds of sanctions since 2006, when North Korea performed its first nuclear test. The sanctions hurt the secretive regime economically but failed to deter Pyongyang from working to become a nuclear power.

The latest sanctions, passed unanimously with the support of China, North Korea’s biggest economic partner, are meant to close loopholes around the world that have allowed the rogue regime to cultivate trade, financing and labor ties to support its nuclear programs.

China in a statement Sunday called the sanctions necessary. Beijing accounts for 90% of the North Korean regime’s trade, according to various estimates.

In the meeting with China on Sunday, North Korea’s foreign minister, Ri Yong Ho, restated Pyongyang’s position on nuclear policy, said Mr. Wang, the Chinese foreign minister, without elaborating. North Korea has previously refused to disarm, arguing that its nuclear capability is a deterrent to protect it from foreign aggression.

North Korean officials were unavailable for comment. Mr. Ri will have a chance to speak Monday to the 27 members of the Asean Regional Forum gathered in Manila for the security meetings.

R.C. Hammond, Tillerson’s communications adviser, told reporters that the Chinese meeting made clear to the North Koreans “what they need to do to demonstrate to the world they understand and would like to discuss a new role for North Korea in the global community.”

The new sanctions ban trade in coal with North Korea and bar countries from employing North Korean laborers and entering into joint ventures with Pyongyang. U.S. officials say the sanctions could cut a third, or $1 billion, from North Korea’s foreign revenue.

“I think the efforts to isolate [North Korea] are already working, even with the previous sanctions in place. The problem is that they have not brought the ‘desired effect’ — which should be progress in the denuclearization,” said Oh Joon, a professor at Kyung Hee University in Seoul and a former South Korean ambassador to the U.N.

The U.S. faces resistance in Asia, where countries have business ties with North Korea dating back decades and experts say that many companies and individuals profit from hard-to-detect financing of trade. The biggest challenge is China, experts say, which hasn’t fully enforced past sanctions, chiefly because it is concerned that if the Pyongyang regime collapses a conflict could draw U.S. troops near the Chinese border or send droves of North Korean refugees across its border.

China has said in the past it complies fully with U.N. sanctions on North Korea but opposes U.S. unilateral sanctions.

China’s trade with North Korea rose 10.5% in the first half of this year as part of its normal economic relationship not covered by sanctions, Chinese trade data show.

“Beijing’s reluctance to implement U.N. sanctions is further enabling Pyongyang to sprint down the weapons path,” said Duyeon Kim, a visiting senior fellow at the Korean Peninsula Future Forum in Seoul. “China knows it can squeeze the North enough without the collapse that it fears, but Beijing chooses not to because of its own strategic interests.”

U.S. presidents have implored China to crack down on North Korea. Former President Barack Obama called on China to put pressure on the regime to abandon its nuclear missile program, while President Donald Trump has accused China of not doing enough.

On Sunday, Susan Thornton, acting assistant secretary for the State Department Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, said in Manila that the U.S. would focus on China’s implementation to keep measures from “slipping back,” as she said they had in the past.

Elsewhere in the region, the U.S. faces other diplomatic challenges reining in Pyongyang, in part because policing sanctions is expensive.

“Very rigorously enforcing sanctions has significant costs for the enforcer, and Southeast Asian countries are not generally willing to bear those costs,” said Justin Hastings, professor of international relations at the University of Sydney.

In addition, some nations say they prefer to engage diplomatically with North Korea rather than isolate the regime as the U.S. has argued for.

A Japanese foreign ministry spokesman said Sunday that “now is not the time for dialogue but the time to increase effective pressure on North Korea, so that they will take concrete actions toward denuclearization.”

Others took a different tack. “I think it’s better that people talk,” Philippine foreign secretary Alan Peter Cayetano said Friday. “The less we talk, the more grave the situation can become.”

Several countries in Southeast Asia, such as Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia, host North Korean embassies and some ties will be hard to unravel. Thailand was North Korea’s third-largest import partner in 2015.

Malaysia has historically close ties to North Korea and until early this year was one of only a handful of nations to allow North Koreans to travel visa-free. That relationship deteriorated in February after the half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un was killed in a Kuala Lumpur airport in an operation that South Korean officials believe was orchestrated by Pyongyang. North Korea has denied any connection with the killing.

–Jonathan Cheng in Hong Kong, Patrick McDowell in Jakarta and Eva Dou in Beijing contributed to this article.

Write to Jake Maxwell Watts at and Ben Otto at