U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Thursday urged the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to step up economic and diplomatic pressure on the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), said a senior U.S. official.
In his first meeting with ASEAN foreign ministers, Tillerson urged his counterparts to make efforts to deny the revenue streams that the DPRK has enjoyed around the region and to minimize diplomatic relations with the DPRK, according to Patrick Murphy, U.S. deputy assistant secretary of state for Southeast Asia.
"The discussion was very robust," Murphy told reporters. "I think on this issue a considerable common ground was identified."
According to Murphy, the United States was encouraging "continued and further steps across all of ASEAN."
ASEAN groups Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
Tension has remained very high on the Korean Peninsula over the past two months between the United States and the DPRK over the U.S. threat to stage military attacks against Pyongyang for its nuclear and missile programs.
The United States and South Korea also held their largest ever joint military exercises in the past two months. Last week, the USS Carl Vinson nuclear aircraft carrier task group arrived in the waters off the peninsula for a separate joint naval exercise with South Korea.