Tags: North Korea | Sanctions | NKorea | Maintained

20 Nations Agree: Sanctions Pressure on NKorea Must Be Maintained

20 Nations Agree: Sanctions Pressure on NKorea Must Be Maintained
Rex Tillerson (Reuters)

Tuesday, 16 January 2018 01:58 PM

VANCOUVER - Sanctions pressure must be maintained on North Korea to force it to abandon its nuclear weapons program and the world should not be fooled by its current charm offensive in engaging South Korea, participants at a 20-nation meeting on North Korea said on Tuesday.

"We must increase the costs of the regime’s behavior to the point that North Korea must come to the table for credible negotiations," Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told the one-day meeting in Vancouver.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has refused to give up development of nuclear missiles capable of hitting the United States in spite of increasingly severe sanctions imposed by the United Nations Security Council.

Japan's Foreign Minister Taro Kono said the world should not be naive about North Korea's "charm offensive" in engaging in talks with South Korea ahead of next month's Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

"It is not the time to ease pressure or to reward North Korea," he said. "The fact that North Korea is engaging in dialogue could be interpreted as proof that the sanctions are working."

Tillerson said North Korea must not be allowed "to drive a wedge" through allied resolve or solidarity and reiterated Washington's rejection of a Chinese-Russian proposal for the United States and South Korea to freeze military exercises in return for a freeze in North Korea's weapons programs.

He urged China and Russia, which have sharply criticized the Vancouver meeting and are not attending, to fully implement U.N. sanctions.

Tillerson said the Vancouver gathering, which groups countries that backed South Korea during the 1950-53 Korean War, - in which Russia and China backed the North - would aim to improve the effectiveness of the U.S.-led "maximum pressure" campaign on Pyongyang and combat its attempts to evade sanctions.

He said all countries needed to work together to improve interdiction of ships attempting to skirt the sanctions and said there must be "new consequences" for North Korea "whenever new aggression occurs."

Earlier on Tuesday, Chinese state media said Chinese President Xi Jinping told U.S. President Donald Trump in a phone call that unity on the North Korean issue was extremely important and the hard-earned easing of tensions must continue.

The White House said Trump and Xi both expressed hope that the resumption of dialogue between North and South might prompt a change in Pyongyang's "destructive behavior" but Trump also committed to sustain the maximum pressure campaign.

North and South Korea held formal talks for the first time in two years this month and Pyongyang said it would send athletes to the Olympics.

South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha said in Vancouver she hoped the dialogue with North Korea would continue well beyond the Olympics, but stressed that existing sanctions must be applied more rigorously

"I believe these two tools - tough sanctions and pressure on the one hand, and the offer of a different, brighter future on the other - (have) worked hand in hand," she said.

"The concerted efforts of the international community have begun to bear fruit."

Separately on Tuesday, United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres said U.N. sanctions must be fully implemented and added that unity of the 15-member council “paves the way for diplomatic engagement.”

At the same time, Guterres welcomed the reopening of inter-Korean communication channels, especially military to military, calling this critical to lowering the risk of miscalculation or misunderstanding.

Guterres also told an informal meeting of the 193-member U.N. General Assembly that he was encouraged by North Korea's decision to participate in the Winter Olympics.

“We need to build on these small signs of hope and expand diplomatic efforts to achieve the peaceful denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula in the context of regional security.” 

© 2018 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

   
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Sanctions pressure must be maintained on North Korea to force it to abandon its nuclear weapons program and the world should not be fooled by its current charm offensive in engaging South Korea, participants at a 20-nation meeting on North Korea said...
Sanctions, NKorea, Maintained
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2018-58-16
Tuesday, 16 January 2018 01:58 PM
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