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U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, left, and Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono shake hands before their meeting in Manila on Aug. 7.   © Kyodo

US, Japan, Australia urge ASEAN to 'maximize pressure' on North Korea

Also call for legally binding code of conduct in South China Sea

CLIFF VENZON, Nikkei staff writer | China

MANILA -- U.S., Japan and Australia on Monday urged the Association of Southeast Asian Nations to exert more pressure on North Korea over its nuclear ambitions and to make sure a planned code of conduct for maritime disputes is legally binding.

In a statement after their meeting on the sidelines of the ASEAN Regional Forum, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono and Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop condemned "in the strongest terms" North Korea's nuclear weapons program, including its launches of intercontinental ballistic missiles last month. They also welcomed the United Nation Security Council's move on Aug. 5 to ban certain exports from North Korea.

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