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Leaders, from left to right, Prime Minister of Laos Thongloun Sisoulith, Indonesia's President Joko Widodo, Cambodia's Prime Minster Hun Sen, Brunei's Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, Thailand's Prime Minister Prayuth Chanocha, Australia's Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, Vietnam's Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, Philippines' Secretary of Foreign Affairs Alan Peter Cayetano, Myanmar's leader Aung San Suu Kyi, and Malaysia's Prime Minister Najib Razak, pose for a group photo at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, ASEAN, special summit, in Sydney, Saturday, March 17, 2018. Australia is hosting leaders from the 10-country Association of Southeast Asian Nations during the 3-day special summit. (AP Photo/Rick Rycroft)

Southeast Asia leaders back sanctions against North Korea

Leaders, from left to right, Prime Minister of Laos Thongloun Sisoulith, Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo, Cambodia’s Prime Minster Hun Sen, Brunei’s Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, Thailand’s Prime Minister Prayuth Chanocha, Australia’s Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, Vietnam’s Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, Philippines’ Secretary of Foreign Affairs Alan Peter Cayetano, Myanmar’s leader Aung San Suu Kyi, and Malaysia’s Prime Minister Najib Razak, pose for a group photo at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, ASEAN, special summit, in Sydney, Saturday, March 17, 2018. Australia is hosting leaders from the 10-country Association of Southeast Asian Nations during the 3-day special summit. (AP Photo/Rick Rycroft)
South East Asian leaders and Australia’s prime minister on Sunday called on North Korea to end its nuclear program urged United Nations countries to fully implement sanctions.

Leaders at the first summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, known as ASEAN, to be held in Australia issued a joint statement with Australia that also called for non-militarization and a code of conduct in the contested waters of the South China Sea, where China has become increasingly assertive.

ASEAN leaders also said they were working to provide humanitarian assistance for the continuing crisis involving Muslim Rohingya refugees fleeing Myanmar, with Australia’s Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull saying the country’s leader Aang San Suu Kyi addressed the matter “comprehensively” in meetings Sunday.

On North Korea, the ASEAN-Australia joint statement said: “We reiterate our support for the complete, verifiable, and irreversible denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula in a peaceful manner as well as initiatives toward establishing peace in the Korean Peninsula.”

The statement urged North Korea to “immediately and fully comply with its obligations under all relevant United Nations Security Council Resolutions” and called on all countries to implement sanctions.

Turnbull went further at a closing news conference, saying ASEAN and Australia had affirmed their commitment to respond strongly over the “grave concerns we share about North Korea’s reckless and illegal nuclear missile programs.” President Donald Trump and South Korean President Moon Jae-in, who are both planning to meet North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un this spring, last week pledged to maintain “maximum pressure” on his authoritarian regime and seek action on giving up his nuclear weapons.

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