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TENSE Americans have been ordered to leave North Korea
"Neutrality is not an option because South China Sea is a key litmus test for China's rise and whether regional responses, regional norms and global law can shape China's behavior or not", said Searight, now senior adviser and director of the Southeast Asia Program of the Center for Strategic and worldwide Studies.
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said he urged his North Korean counterpart to abide by United Nations resolutions when the two met on Sunday, and pressed South Korea and the United States to ensure that they take no provocative actions.
The Foreign ministers attending the Asean meetings in Manila are expected to come up with a joint statement on terrorism and violent extremism.
"And the fact is, North Korea matters a lot less for Malaysia, Vietnam, and the Philippines than the South China Sea does, which is right at their front door", Gregory Poling, director of the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said.
He described the framework as an "outline" that defines the nature of the code of conduct, detail the legal basis for it, and state "how countries should behave in the region".
ASEAN Secretary General Le Luong Minh of Vietnam told the Nikkei Asian Review in June that the bloc would aim for a legally binding code. Among them is stepping up pressure against North Korea.
Last year, the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague invalidated China's claim over most of the South China Sea, though the country has refused to recognize the ruling.
The Philippines won a landmark decision at the United Nations-backed arbitral tribunal but China has repeatedly rejected the decision.
ASEAN expressed "serious concern" in that text, and "emphasized the importance of non-militarization and self-restraint in all activities, including land reclamation".
Tillerson is in Manila for a meeting of the 10-nation ASEAN regional bloc, but all eyes will be on his one-on-one talks with his counterparts from Washington's great power rivals, Russian Federation and China.
The South China Sea chapter in the latest draft communique, a negotiated text subject to changes, is a watered-down version of one issued in Laos past year.
The collaboration by the U.S. and China is a sign that the measure - to be debated on Saturday - is likely to pass without being vetoed by any Security Council member.
President Rodrigo R. Duterte is also set to meet with the foreign ministers on August 8.
He will also join celebrations to mark the 50th Anniversary of the establishment of ASEAN.
The South China Sea issue also has strained the Philippines' relations with China after Beijing claimed nearly all parts of the minerals-rich region. Richard Heydarian, a geopolitical analyst in Manila, said Vietnam would be the "biggest loser" should China take full control of the important waterway.
The draft statement reflects issues to be deliberated at the forum and affirms foreign ministers' strong condemnation of recent acts of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. "And [Hanoi has been] consistent with [its] position since 2010, unlike the Philippines, which has flip-flopped". The problem is that no other country is willing to directly confront China, since it is economically and militarily more powerful and probably the most powerful in South East Asia.
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This year, I joined 114 of my fellow Democratic members - more than half the Democratic caucus - to lend my support. Major insurers in Georgia and Kentucky were among those that said they could pull out if the federal payments stop.
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Hay separación entre los sistemas de refrigeración y los sistemas eléctricos gracias a la unidad de control. No obstante, se han inventado sistemas para hacer uso de la energía eléctrica natural en los automóviles.
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