Trump praises new UN sanctions on North Korea

Claudine Rigal
Août 13, 2017

In an apparent response, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the Trump administration does not favor regime change and seeks a diplomatic solution to halt the North's weapons program.

The warm welcome to Ri was surprising as Dutere had recently called the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un a "fool" for fostering nuclear ambitions.

But Mr Tillerson appeared more conciliatory on Monday. He says stopping the launches would be the "first and strongest signal".

Ri described North Korea's missiles and nuclear weapons as defensive measures against what he called the threat of annihilation by the United States.

"We'll know it when we see it", he said in Manila.

Wang described U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson's recent remarks on North Korea as "positive". He's not specifying what those are. -South Korean military exercises.

It is asking the US and North Korea to come to the table for talks, and Foreign Minister Wang played key role in broaching this idea to Washington and Pyongyang at the ASEAN forum.

"It's an insult to the worldwide community as a whole, and it's a threat to peace and stability of the region".

Nikki Haley, the USA ambassador to the United Nations, called the sanctions the most stringent on any country "in a generation".

However, Tillerson is expected to meet with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and his Chinese counterpart Wang, who are both perceived by Washington to be players in the North Korean issue.

According to several diplomats from the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN), Vietnam wanted the text to explicitly oppose the building and militarization of artificial islands in disputed waters.

"We felt the readiness of our USA colleagues to continue dialogue", Lavrov said. Instead, the USA was represented at the dinner by Thornton, whose official title is acting assistant secretary of State for East Asia and Pacific Affairs.

The onus is on Pyongyang "to make the right and smart decision", Wang said on Sunday after holding talks with his North Korean counterpart Ri Hong-yo.

South Korea's former foreign minister, Yun Byung-se, also talked briefly with Ri at the same forum a year ago.

Pyongyang's top envoy has so far avoided the media in Manila.

"In addition to supporting ostensibly legitimate businesses like ginseng sales and restaurants, these embassies act as control centers for the North's regional smuggling networks and other plainly illicit operations", King said.

"The United Nations Security Council Resolution 2371 was created under forceful USA demand, and violates the right of self-determination, right to existence".

"Sanction is necessary, but sanction is not the ultimate goal", Wang told reporters.

The new sanctions were drafted by the consultation with China and passed unanimously at the United Nations on Saturday.

"Owing to China's traditional economic ties with North Korea, it will mainly be China paying the price for implementing the resolution", a Foreign Ministry statement cited Mr Wang as saying. It was a question driving the hallway chatter at the gathering, but the USA shot down that prospect and said Tillerson had no plans to interact with Ri.

The U.S. -drafted measure, negotiated with North Korea's neighbor and ally China, is aimed at increasing economic pressure on Pyongyang to return to negotiations on its nuclear and missile programs.

North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un will be under pressure to prove the punitive actions of the worldwide community won't shake his commitment to the development of nuclear weapons and the means to deliver them to distant targets.

The North said it would take an unspecified "resolute action of justice" and would never place its nuclear program on the negotiating table or "flinch an inch" from its push to strengthen its nuclear deterrence as long as USA hostility against North Korea persists.

Trump's initial optimism about China's willingness to help gave way to public exasperation, with Trump saying Chinese President Xi Jinping had "tried" but that it "has not worked out".

Mr Tillerson's comments, made at a regional security forum in Manila, were the latest United States attempt to rein in Pyongyang's nuclear and missile program after months of tough talk from President Donald Trump.

Ri said in the Monday statement that the nuclear program is for potential self-defense "in the face of a clear and real nuclear threat posed by the U.S".

Tillerson is in Manila for a meeting of the 10-nation ASEAN regional bloc, but all eyes will be on his one-on-one talks with his counterparts from Washington's great power rivals, Russian Federation and China. Lindsey Graham said last week that he believes military action against North Korea is "inevitable" and that "if there's going to be a war to stop them, it will be over there".

On Sunday, he declared the latest United Nations sanctions a "good outcome". Tillerson described it as a "a good outcome" and Kang weighed in, adding it was "it was a very, very good outcome".

While some officials of ASEAN members acknowledged concerns about North Korea, they also cited concerns about trade relations with the United States.

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