MANILA, Aug. 3 — The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA)on Thursday said Asia’s biggest security forum, which the Philippines is hosting on Monday here, has no rules to determine if a participating country should exit the forum.
DFA Acting Spokesperson Robiespierre Bolivar stressed this in response to the United States’ intent to bar North Korea from the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) amid grave concern over the escalation of tensions over its missile launches.
Bolivar pointed out that ARF is a forum that does not have an “expulsion provision” similar to Article 50 of the Treaty of the European Union (EU) where a country can withdraw from the union.
“If DPRK (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) wants to exit, I guess there are no hard and fast rules for it to be prevented from exiting,” he said in a press briefing prior to the holding of the 50th ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (AMM) and Related Meetings slated here on August 5.
The DFA official said aside from the United Nations (UN), the ARF is a forum participated by the DPRK, Japan, China, Russia, US, EU and Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
“It is the only venue thus far that we have to promote candid and free flow dialogue and to actually express our concerns to the DPRK side in a face-to-face manner,” Bolivar said.
“It provides a very candid venue for all the parties to express concerns to the North and to try to find cooperative ways of addressing the issue,” he added.
In their meeting last April here, foreign ministers of ASEAN member states issued a strong statement against the ballistic missile and fissile material testing of the North Korea.
They urged the DPRK to exercise self-restraint in order to de-escalate the tension and refrain from actions that might aggravate the situation.
The Philippines chairs this year’s ASEAN Summits.