US moves to have North Korea suspended from Asia forum
Washington is seeking talks on how North Korea can be suspended from the largest security forum in Asia as part of a broader effort to diplomatically isolate Pyongyang and force it to end its missile tests and to abandon its nuclear weapons program, US and Filipino officials.
Deputy Secretary for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Susan Thornton told reporters in Washington on Wednesday that North Korea’s actions violate the conflict prevention objectives of the ASEAN Regional Forum, which groups the United States and North Korea with 25 other countries.
The Philippines hosts an annual FRA Monday ministerial meeting in 27 countries to be followed by US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho.
Tillerson does not intend to meet with Ri within the framework of the meeting, Thornton said. It is expected that with the United States, Japan and South Korea to push for stronger action against the North, a verbal confrontation appears in the forum.
“What we have been seeing is having a serious discussion about what it would take for a member to be suspended from the organization dedicated to conflict prevention and preventive diplomacy,” said M. Thornton. “I think we will continue to have this conversation regarding North Korea.”
“What we have done is to discuss with partners what they could do to contribute to this growing pressure on the regime and the growing diplomatic isolation of the regime,” he said.
Two Filipino officials told The Associated Press that US officials have discussed such a view with Filipino officials, who told them it would be best to keep North Korea on the forum, where they can be persuaded to stop the provocations through dialogue.
A North Korean delegation led by the deputy foreign minister visited Manila last week and told the Philippine authorities hoping for a “favorable environment” as the main diplomat in Pyongyang attending the ARF meetings in Manila, said the official, who Spoke with the PA on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly on the subject.
In response, the Philippine authorities told the North Koreans that they could not guarantee this because other Member States, such as South Korea, Japan and the United States, would undoubtedly increase the Pyongyang continuous test missile.
They asked the delegation why North Korea conducted an intercontinental ballistic missile test last week, a few days before the ARF meeting, and should not be confronted with other nations on this issue, authorities said.
Consulted at a press conference in Manila Philippines if he would support efforts to eliminate North Korea from the ARF, Foreign Ministry spokesman Robespierre Bolivar did not respond categorically but said the grouping serves as an air concern and constructive dialogue . There was no clear procedure for removing a member state, he said.