South Korean President Moon Jae-in (C) is flanked by other Asian leaders as they join hands for the traditional group photo during the during the ASEAN-South Korea Commemorative Summit in Busan, South Korea, on Tuesday. Photo by Yonhap/EPA-EFE
Nov. 26 (UPI) -- Southeast Asian leaders gathered in Busan, South Korea, urged North Korean restraint while calling on Pyongyang to cease its tests of missiles.
South Korean President Moon Jae-in and other leaders gathered for the two-day Association of Southeast Asian Nations-South Korea Commemorative Summit agreed North Korea needs to refrain from testing missiles, South Korean television network Channel A reported Tuesday.
Leaders of ASEAN and Moon stopped short of denouncing Kim Jong Un, who had pledged to cease military hostilities as part of a September 2018 agreement with Moon. This year, North Korea has engaged in at least a dozen tests of short-range missiles and "new weapons systems."
Seoul is hosting the summit for the third time. Leaders of ASEAN gather in South Korea every five years. In 2009 and 2014, gathered heads of state focused on "condemning" the North for nuclear weapons tests and missile launches, according to Channel A.
On Tuesday, the leaders' joint vision statement emphasized peace, reflecting recent changes in inter-Korea relations.
Heads of state agreed to "promote and facilitate dialogue and cooperation, including through ASEAN-led mechanisms, to support complete denuclearization and the establishment of permanent peace on the Korean Peninsula in a peaceful manner, and thus contribute to lasting peace, security and stability in the region."
Moon has highlighted the important role ASEAN plays in Korea's foreign affairs with his "New Southern Policy," a Seoul initiative designed to strengthen cooperation and exchange between Asia's fourth-largest economy and Southeast Asia.
Moon said Tuesday Seoul will liberalize policies, including in aviation, aiming for an exchange that exceeds more than 11 million people per year, according to local television network JTBC.
The South Korean president also said Seoul will double official development assistance to Southeast Asian nations by 2022 as part of its New Southern Policy.
ASEAN member states, including Vietnam, have played a crucial role in the planning of U.S.-North Korea summits in 2018 and 2019.
Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, who hosted U.S. President Donald Trump and Kim in February, told South Korean paper Kyunghyang Shinmun on Tuesday Vietnam "continues to support stability and security on the Korean Peninsula."