Asean gravely concerned about N Korea’s nukes

SYDNEY The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) and Australia said yesterday 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.

Its 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 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.

In a seperate development, North Korean officials wrapped up three days of talks with Swedish counterparts with no indication their efforts cleared the way for a mooted nuclear summit between US President Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un, as a senior Pyongyang diplomat headed to Finland yesterday for further meetings.

The North's state KCNA news agency said yesterday the Stockholm talks had discussed "bilateral relations and other issues of mutual concern", without providing further detail.