There had been "really tangible progress" so there was "a need to cherish momentum on the South China, he told a press conference after a meeting with his counterparts from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations".
'We strongly urge (North Korea) to immediately comply fully with its obligations under all relevant UN Security Council Resolutions.
The United States said it would also seek to build unified pressure on the North at the Manila event - known as the ASEAN Regional Forum.
"When the situation in the South China Sea is generally stable, if there is no major disruption from outside parties", he said.
Cambodia wanted its sentiments on the Korean Peninsula better reflected in the Asean foreign ministers' joint communiqué, stalling its issuance last Saturday after the ministers concluded their meeting, the diplomat said, adding that Cambodia's stance may have been influenced by China.
Bolivar stressed the Philippines preferred a "legally binding" and effective code of conduct which all parties would observe and adhere to.
Even when its claims to South China Sea may be legitimate, Vietnam finds itself isolated in the ASEAN regional forum.
Malaysia also pushed for some tougher language, including with a reference to "military assets" in the contested waters, according to the draft and discussions with diplomats involved in the discussions.
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The South China Sea chapter in the latest draft communique, a negotiated text subject to changes, is a watered-down version of one issued in Laos a year ago.
The Philippines used to be the most vocal critic of Beijing's expansionism.
China has steadfastly opposed any mention in Asean statements of its island-building in the disputed waters, its reported installation of a missile defense system on the new features and an arbitration ruling that invalidated Beijing's historic claims to the strategic waters.
"Our meeting today is historic as it is taking place just three days before ASEAN celebrates its 50th founding anniversary".
On Saturday, ASEAN foreign ministers adopted a separate joint statement on the situation in the Korean Peninsula, with its provisions being included into the final joint communique.
The framework, which is believed to "cement" ASEAN and Chinese commitments to negotiate a binding code to ease tensions in the disputed waters, urges "respect for each other's independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity in accordance with worldwide law, and the principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of other states".
The ministers also said that they reaffirmed the need "to exercise self-restraint in the conduct of activities and avoid actions that may further complicate the situation, and pursue peaceful resolution of disputes in accordance with global law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS)".