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08 August 2017, 12:52 | Damon Campbell
Meanwhile, the USA has drafted a new UN Security Council resolution - due for consideration on Saturday - which seeks to cripple Pyongyang's remaining export revenue.
During the talks, that lasted almost an hour, China is said to have raised its strong opposition to the deployment with Minister Wang questioning whether Seoul believes the THAAD system could defend against North Korea's intercontinental ballistic missiles.
During the talks, the two leaders shared the view that China's suspension of coal imports from North Korea alone will not be enough to make Pyongyang stop its nuclear and missile development. This represents one-third of its total exports past year, estimated at $3 billion.
China has been at odds with the United States over the latter's freedom-of-navigation operations in the South China Sea, including the area claimed by the Philippines.
The group together with China signed in 2002 a non-binding Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) but the document failed to prevent conflicts as most of claimants, notably China, built facilities on islands and features in the sea, which facilitated militarisation.
"The aim is to bring the peninsula nuclear issue back to the negotiating table and seek a solution through negotiations until the denuclearization of the peninsula and the stability of the peninsula are achieved", he said, as quoted by the AP.
For the US, it was a long-awaited sign of progress for Trump's strategy of trying to enlist Beijing's help to squeeze North Korea diplomatically and economically.
"The Security Council increased the penalty of North Korea's ballistic missile activity to a whole new level. This is the most stringent set of sanctions on any country in a generation", US Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador Nikki Haley said.
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Pyongyang then reacted swiftly to the move, slamming Washington's unilateral economic punitive measure as a "criminal conduct" and vowing that United States sanctions will never work on North Korea. It also bars new joint ventures with North Korea.
North Korea's top diplomat, Ri Hong-Yo, is also attending the regional summit, which is hosted by the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). "It is not the denuclearization of N. Korea, but the security of United States mainland which should be the top priority of Trump administration".
Robespierre L. Bolivar, spokesman of the Philippines' Department of Foreign Affairs, said the foreign ministers "endorsed the framework of the code of conduct for eventual adoption at the ASEAN-China ministerial meeting on August 6".
Would Tillerson interact with his North Korean counterpart, even informally, if they crossed paths in Manila?
"The United States was able to get a pretty strong resolution here that will hit North Korea where it hurts economically", says Ankit Panda, who writes about North Korea for the online magazine, The Diplomat.
The diplomatic wrangling sought to build on the sweeping new North Korea sanctions passed by the U.N. Security Council a day earlier - the strongest in a generation, the USA said.
The Japanese government made its request after telephone talks between Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and US President Donald Trump on April 6 about the North Korea situation.
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