MANILA, Philippines (AP) -- Southeast Asia's top diplomats slammed North Korea with a sharp rebuke Saturday over its intercontinental ballistic missile tests and admonished Pyongyang to comply with its duty of helping avert conflicts as a member of Asia's biggest security forum.
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations foreign ministers, however, were split on an American proposal to suspend Pyongyang from the ASEAN Regional Forum, a 27-nation bloc that includes North Korea and its bitter adversaries the U.S., South Korea and Japan.
The ASEAN ministers reiterated in a joint statement their grave concerns over the escalation of tensions on the Korean Peninsula due to the North's two ICBM tests last month, saying the launches threaten world stability. The ministers traditionally issue a communique containing their diverse concerns, and their issuance of a separate statement on North Korea's missile tests and nuclear weapons program reflects their deep worries about the issue.
"These developments seriously threaten peace, security and stability in the region and the world," the ministers said in their statement. They urged the North to immediately and fully comply with its obligations under U.N. Security Council resolutions.