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(LEAD) N.K. threat to top agenda for Asia-Pacific security forum in Manila

All Headlines 12:52 August 07, 2017

(ATTN: ADDS N.K.'s possible press meeting after ARF at bottom)

MANILA, Aug. 7 (Yonhap) -- Top diplomats from Asia-Pacific countries will meet in Manila on Monday to discuss regional security issues, including North Korea's growing military threats.

The annual ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) hosted by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations will gather together 27 foreign ministers from nations across the region and the European Union.

(LEAD) N.K. threat to top agenda for Asia-Pacific security forum in Manila - 1

The ARF launched in 1994 is a rare international gathering attended by the North, along with all other countries involved in the now-suspended six-party talks aimed at curbing its nuclear ambitions.

This year's forum comes amid increasing pressure on the North following its two intercontinental ballistic missile tests last month, which prompted the United Nations Security Council to adopt a fresh sanctions resolution Saturday (local time).

A chairman's statement will be issued at the end of the forum. The ARF statement issued after last year's meeting in Laos expressed concerns over tensions around the Korean Peninsula and its support for efforts to denuclearize the North.

Keen attention is placed on North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho's remarks during the meeting. Since his arrival here Sunday, Ri has stayed mum. Last year he talked about the North's stance on the UNSC sanctions.

In a bilateral meeting with Ri on Sunday, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi called for Pyongyang to stop nuclear and missile tests. Their traditionally close relations have been strained after North Korea's defiant military provocations despite Beijing's warnings.

An informed source told Yonhap that the North will likely hold a press meeting after the ARF is over to make its stance on the growing pressure on its regime and other issues clear.


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