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Southeast Asia says gravely concerned about North Korea weapons

Australia is hosting ASEAN meetings this weekend, despite not being a member of the 10-nation bloc, as it seeks to tighten political and trade ties in the region amid China's rising influence.

March 18, 2018 11:31 am | Updated 11:31 am IST - SYDNEY:

 Leaders, from left to right; Prime Minister of Laos Thongloun Sisoulith, Indonesia's President Joko Widodo, Cambodia's Prime Minster Hun Sen, Brunei's Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, Thailand's Prime Minister Prayuth Chanocha, Australia's Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, Vietnam's Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, Philippines' Secretary of Foreign Affairs Alan Peter Cayetano, Myanmar's leader Aung San Suu Kyi, and Malaysia's Prime Minister Najib Razak, pose for a group photo at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, ASEAN, special summit, in Sydney, on Saturday.

Leaders, from left to right; Prime Minister of Laos Thongloun Sisoulith, Indonesia's President Joko Widodo, Cambodia's Prime Minster Hun Sen, Brunei's Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, Thailand's Prime Minister Prayuth Chanocha, Australia's Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, Vietnam's Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, Philippines' Secretary of Foreign Affairs Alan Peter Cayetano, Myanmar's leader Aung San Suu Kyi, and Malaysia's Prime Minister Najib Razak, pose for a group photo at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, ASEAN, special summit, in Sydney, on Saturday.

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations and Australia said on Sunday they held “grave concerns” about escalating tensions caused by North Korea's nuclear and missile programmes.

“We strongly urge the DPRK to immediately and fully comply with its obligations under all relevant United Nations Security Council Resolutions,” the countries said in a joint declaration, using the initials for North Korea's official name.

The country's nuclear and ballistic missile development “threaten regional and global security”, the declaration added.

Australia is hosting ASEAN meetings this weekend, despite not being a member of the 10-nation bloc, as it seeks to tighten political and trade ties in the region amid China's rising influence.

Officially, the ASEAN summit has focused on fostering closer economic ties among the members of ASEAN and Australia, and countering the threat of Islamist militants returning to the region from the Middle East.

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