ASEAN Leaders Commit to Stepping up their Response to North Korea, Terrorism

After two days the ASEAN summit has wound up with The Sydney Declaration — a joint statement from the 10 South-East Asian leaders pledging to step up their response to North Korea, terrorism and violent extremism.

The seven-page statement released on Sunday called on North Korea to comply with United Nations Security Council resolutions towards denuclearisation.

“We have grave concerns about the escalation of tensions in the Korean Peninsula including the DPRK [Democratic People’s Republic of Korea]’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs, which threaten regional and global peace and security,” the statement says.

The statement also referenced China’s militarisation in the disputed South China Sea and called for “the full and effective implementation of a code of conduct” in the international territory.

“We emphasise the importance of non-militarisation and the need to enhance mutual trust and confidence, exercise self-restraint in the conduct of activities and avoid actions that may complicate the situation.”

The Sydney Declaration “unequivocally” condemned terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, and outlined the leaders’ commitment to stopping it.

“We reiterate our commitment to work together even more closely to enhance regional cooperation to counter terrorism, including to prevent and suppress the flow of foreign terrorist fighters in our region, and address the underlying factors and conditions that contribute to the growth and spread of violent extremism and radicalisation,” the statement says.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull described ASEAN as 10 of Australia’s most important neighbours, the region’s “strategic convenor”, and “a vital partner to enhance the region’s security and prosperity.”

“We’ve discussed the most pressing issues facing our region, we’ve reaffirmed out commitment to the fundamental principles which underline our security,” Mr Turnbull said.

Throughout the summit there were protests over human rights abuses in Myanmar and Cambodia.

There was also a warning from Malaysia’s Prime Minister that the Rohingya crisis posed a threat to regional security.