South Korea wants 'new heights' for ASEAN ties amid North Korea threat

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"President Moon said the most important task at a time when the North Korean nuclear and missile issues are becoming a global threat is to prevent North Korean provocations and stably maintain the situation, while working to bring North Korea to the dialogue table through all available diplomatic means", the presidential office Cheong Wa Dae said.

Summit chairman Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, speaking ahead of Moon, also highlighted the "growing ties" of the regional bloc and South Korea in the past 28 years, calling the two parties "partners for peace and prosperity".

South Korean companies with Chinese customers had suffered due to backlash from China, which has vehemently opposed the deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system.


The South Korean President also noted there are about 1.5 million Korean tourists who visit the Philippines annually. While his reply did not individually address Moon's specific demands, it did read as a clear signal that the two sides' relationship in economic, social, and cultural terms may resume.

While neither president made mention of North Korea, it was, without a doubt, among the critical issues that will be taken up in Manila. "For it to truly be spring, all the different flowers must blossom together".

We will start this meeting this afternoon with my statement.


Trump had also delivered a sharp warning to North Korea in a speech at South Korea's parliament on Wednesday, telling the country: "Do not underestimate us".

The Blue House statement on the results of the meeting did not go into detail regarding Thaad, but a Blue House official told the JoongAng Ilbo, when asked whether Moon addressed Korean companies in China being affected by economic retaliation over Thaad, "There was confirmation that the economy has to be improved comprehensively and quickly, and I believe that was included in this". They have another summit meeting in China next month, too.

(STAND-UP) "But before that, a separate meeting between President Moon and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang here in Manila on the sidelines of the ASEAN-related summits will show whether the strongest steel is indeed forged in the hottest fire".


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