DFA: Asean regional forum has no expulsion provisions
The Asean Regional Forum (ARF) has no capacity to restrict participating countries, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said on Thursday amid calls of the US to suspend North Korea from attending the security forum to be held in Manila this week.
“The ARF is a forum as evidenced by its title. We do not have expulsion provisions,” DFA spokesperson Robespierre Bolivar said in a press briefing.
A country may exit if it wants to do so, however.
“If DPRK (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) wants to exit, there are no rules for it to be prevented from exiting. As a forum there are no rules for us to determine if a participating country should exit the forum,” Bolivar said.
The US has expressed alarm over the continuous missile tests of North Korea and its upgrading of nuclear weapons program.
Bolivar said the Asean is “very much concerned” with the developments in the North Korean peninsula and the potential escalation of the issue.
“ARF is the only venue where you have the DPRK, as well as the Republic of Korea, Japan, China, Russia, US, European Union and Asean,” he said.
“Asean is the only venue where we can promote candid dialogue on North Korea’s nuclear ambitions with key stakeholders,” he added.
Twenty-seven countries will participate in the annual ministerial meeting that will be hosted by the Philippines on Monday. It will also be attended by US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho. Frances G. Mangosing / JPV
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.