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NEWS UPDATES 22 July 2010

Asean ministers concerned over Korean tensions

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Asia Pacific foreign ministers meeting in Hanoi have voiced concern over the escalating tensions on the Korean peninsula, as the US announced new sanctions against North Korea.

There was general agreement that six-party disarmament talks with North Korea should resume as soon as possible. But diplomats said there is disagreement over how far to go in commenting on the sinking of a South Korean warship in March.

Discussion will continue on Friday at the ASEAN Regional Forum in Hanoi, Channel News Asia reports.

ASEAN Secretary-General Surin Pitsuwan said: "On the ASEAN side, they certainly reiterated their expectations. Their hope (is) that they can contribute in any way to the resolution of the tension in the Korean peninsula.

"They have asked the Chair to try and see if there's any possibility of raising the issue with the North Korean Foreign Minister to bring the six-party talks back to life."

Dr .Surin said the 10-member grouping and its dialogue partners will update themselves, when US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton arrives in the Vietnamese capital on Thursday.

Dr. Surin also said all ASEAN dialogue partners were supportive of the plan to expand the 16-nation East Asia Summit (EAS) by including Russia and United States.

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