Tillerson also met his Chinese counterpart, who said they had “specific and meaningful” talks about North Korea and agreed that the new resolutions should be a means of returning to
dialogue.

Wang also told Tillerson that “blindly” using sanctions is not a solution to the Korean peninsula issue and hoped the United States would seriously consider China’s proposed “dual suspension” of military drills in the South and missile tests in the North.

But dialogue should not be a priority, according to a Japan foreign ministry spokesman, who applauded the tougher sanctions and said it was now time for Japan and its allies to apply more
pressure on North Korea.

Susan Thornton, acting U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, said China’s support for sanctions showed it recognised the gravity of the situation, but it was incumbent on Beijing to ensure they were implemented.

Separately, China and the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) on Sunday adopted a framework for drafting a code of conduct to prevent disputes in the South China Sea.

ASEAN also broke the deadlock over how to address disputes with China in its customary communique, which was delayed by internal disagreement. The agreed text called for militarisation to be avoided and noted concern about island-building.

The South China Sea has long been the most divisive issue within ASEAN, with China’s influence looming large. Beijing is extremely sensitive about ASEAN mentioning its expansion of its defence capabilities on its artificial islands.

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