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Trump, Moon vow to implement N.Korea sanctions

August 7, 2017

The US and South Korean presidents have agreed North Korea 'poses a grave and growing, direct threat.' US Secretary of State Tillerson has ruled out a quick return to dialogue with Pyongyang due to its nuclear program.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in and President Donald Trump
Image: picture alliance/newscom/K. Dietsch

In a phone call between the two leaders Sunday evening, Presidents Donald Trump and Moon Jae-in "affirmed that North Korea poses a grave and growing direct threat to the United States, South Korea and Japan, as well as to most countries around the world," a statement from the White House read.

"The leaders committed to fully implement all relevant resolutions and to urge the international community to do so as well," it continued.

North Korea's official KCNA news agency reported on Monday that the new UN sanctions infringed on the country's sovereignty and that "righteous action" would be taken. "There is no bigger mistake than the United States believing that its land is safe across the ocean," KCNA reported.

Running out of patience

Speaking on Monday in Manila during a security forum, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the new UN sanctions imposed Saturday on North Korea showed the world had run out of patience with Pyongyang's nuclear missile tests and development program. "The best signal that North Korea could send that they're prepared to talk would be to stop these missile launches," Tillerson said.

Read more: ICBM tests force South Korea to get tough on North

The US and China began talks in early July after Pyongyang launched its first intercontinental ballistic missile on July 4, followed by a second ICBM test on July 28.

UN sanctions

The UN Security Council resolution - which would see sanctions cutting North Korea's $3 billion (2.7 billlion-euro) annual export revenue by about one third - was unanimously passed 15-0 on Saturday.

The US-drafted resolution bans North Korean exports of coal, iron, iron ore, lead, lead ore and seafood, prohibits countries from raising the numbers of North Korean laborers working abroad, bans new joint ventures with North Korea and also bans new investment in existing joint ventures.

Tillerson was not expected to meet North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho at the ASEAN Regional Forum on Monday.

The forum is a gathering of 27 foreign ministers, including former participants in the discontinued six-party talks on North Korea between Russia, Japan, the US, China and North and South Korea. 

Tillerson did meet with foreign ministers Wang Yi of China and Sergei Lavrov of Russia on Sunday, and on Monday emphasized a united, international stance against North Korea: "It's quite clear in terms of there being no daylight between the international community as to the expectation that North Korea will take steps to achieve all of my objectives, which is a denuclearised Korean peninsula."

Washington, Beijing working together

China accounts for 90 percent of trade with North Korea and Washington has threatened to exert trade pressure on Beijing and impose sanctions on Chinese firms doing business with Pyongyang.

China's foreign minister Wang Yi on Sunday said the new sanctions on North Korea - which has been under UN sanctions since 2006 - were the right response to a series of missile tests, but said that sanctions alone would not solve the problem and again called for the US to talk to North Korea.

"Dialogue and negotiation are the correct way to address the Korean peninsula issue," Wang said.

China's foreign ministry on Monday issued a statement calling for restraint and positive efforts to resolve the North Korean issue - again calling for a resolution via talks. 

Haley: 'The threat of an outlaw nuclearized North Korean dictatorship remains'

jm/se (Reuters, AFP, AP)