Foreign ministers from ASEAN member states jointly expressed grave concern over the recent surge in North Korea’s intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) test launches and urged its leader Kim Jong-un to exercise self- restraint in order to de-escalate tensions.
Media reports have said that Pyongyang recently test-fired 33 rockets.
“ASEAN expresses grave concern over the recent surge in the DPRK’s intercontinental ballistic missile tests and ballistic missile launches. This worrisome development reflects an increased tension on the Korean peninsula and threatens peace and stability in the region and in the world,” said Cambodia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation in a statement on June 11, using the official acronym of the East Asian country, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
The statement said that in recognition of the fact that instability on the Korean peninsula seriously impacts regional peace and stability, ASEAN urges North Korea to exercise self-restraint in order to de-escalate tensions and avoid actions that may further aggravate the situation.
The bloc reiterated its calls for North Korea to fully comply with all relevant UN Security Council (UNSC) resolutions and take into account the international community’s calls for diplomacy in the interests of maintaining peace and security in the region.
The statement further said that diplomatic efforts, including the creation of a conducive environment for peaceful dialogue among all concerned parties, should remain a priority.
The bloc reaffirmed its readiness to play a constructive role in any negotiations process, including through the utilisation of ASEAN-led mechanisms, such as the ASEAN Regional Forum, in order to de-escalate tensions and ultimately bring about a complete, veritable, irreversible and peaceful denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula.
“ASEAN emphasises that achieving peace and stability will also mean greater development and prosperity for the DPRK, the region and the world,” reads the statement.
Heng Kimkong, a visiting senior research fellow at the Cambodia Development Centre, said that as a major organisation in the region, ASEAN has an important role to play in promoting peace and stability in Southeast Asia and the Indo-Pacific.
“ASEAN should continue to express its concerns regarding the new developments on the Korean Peninsula and work with other major powers to preserve and promote peace and stability in the region,” he told The Post on June 12.