The Latest: NKorea official calls US efforts a ‘wild dream’
UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The Latest on U.S. efforts to curb North Korea’s nuclear program (all times local):
North Korea’s deputy U.N. ambassador says a solution to the standoff over his country’s nuclear program will be possible when the United States withdraws its “hostile policy” toward the northeast Asian nation.
Kim In Ryong told The Associated Press on Friday that the government has declared that it will not attend “any type of talks which would discuss its nuclear abandonment.”
He also rejected the U.N. Security Council meeting on the North Korean nuclear issue — which his country declined to attend — as “another abuse” of its authority, acting on instructions of the United States which is a veto-wielding member.
Kim said that “it is a wild dream for the U.S. to think of depriving the DPRK of its nuclear deterrent through military threat and sanctions.”
Russia’s deputy foreign minister says “combative rhetoric coupled with reckless muscle-flexing” on North Korea has led to a situation where the world is seriously wondering whether there’s going to be a war.
Gennady Gatilov warned a ministerial meeting of the U.N. Security Council Friday that “one ill-thought out or misinterpreted step could lead to the most frightening and lamentable consequences.”
He says Russia views the developing situation in the region “with alarm” and condemns Pyongyang’s nuclear and ballistic missile tests. Russia is a neighbor of North Korea.
But Gatilov stresses North Korea probably won’t give up its nuclear weapons as long as it sees a direct threat to its security. And he says “sanctions and pressure alone on Pyongyang” won’t resolve the issue.
China is calling for North Korea to stop its nuclear and missile activities, and for the U.S. and South Korea to refrain from military drills.
Foreign Minister Wang Yi was speaking Friday at a U.N. Security Council ministerial meeting, amid growing alarm over Pyongyang’s weapons development and escalating tensions in the region.
Wang warned that “use of force ... will only lead to bigger disasters.”
While Washington is stressing the need for China to step up pressure on North Korea, Wang said the answer does not rest with China.
He said dialogue and compromise on both sides is needed.
Wang reiterated a Chinese proposal for Pyongyang to suspend its nuclear and missile programs in exchange for a suspension in U.S.-South Korea military drills, which the allies previously have rejected.
U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres says he is alarmed at the risk of military escalation in northeast Asia, “including by miscalculation or misunderstanding,” as a result of North Korea’s accelerated nuclear and ballistic missile activities.
He condemned “in the strongest terms” North Korea’s repeated defiance of U.N. Security Council demands to halt its nuclear and missile programs.
Guterres told a ministerial meeting of the Security Council on Friday that commercial satellite images indicate North Korea’s nuclear test site remains “in a state of readiness to conduct additional nuclear test explosions.”
He said the international community needs to act now “to prevent conflict and achieve sustainable peace,” and North Korea must refrain from further testing, comply with U.N. resolutions and explore the resumption of dialogue.
“This means reopening and strengthening communication channels, particularly military to military, to lower the risk of miscalculation or misunderstanding,” Guterres said.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has urged new sanctions against North Korea at a U.N. gathering.
He told the U.N. Security Council that failing to act against the North’s weapons programs would be “catastrophic.”
Tillerson said the world community needs to increase North Korea’s financial isolation. He called for new sanctions against North Korean entities and individuals supporting its nuclear and missile programs, and tighter implementation of sanctions already in place.
He said the U.S. would not hesitate to sanction other countries that support the North’s illegal activities. He said he looked forward to further action from China, North Korea’s main trading partner.
Tillerson also urged nations to downgrade diplomatic relations with Pyongyang.
He said, “failing to act now on the most pressing security issue in the world may bring catastrophic consequences.”
China’s foreign minister says the situation on the Korean peninsula “is under great tension and at a critical point.”
Wang Yi said the international community must stay committed to parallel progress on denuclearization of the Korean peninsula and upholding peace and stability.
He told reporters ahead of a U.N. Security Council ministerial meeting on North Korea on Friday that “what is crucial today is to resume the talks,” even if few players are involved initially. The ultimate goal, he added, would be to resume multilateral discussions known as the six-party talks.
He also reiterated China’s proposal that North Korea halt nuclear and missile tests in exchange for the U.S. and South Korea stopping military exercises. He called it “sensible and reasonable” and said the proposal is gaining support from many countries.
Japan’s defense ministry says two Japanese F-15 fighter jets have participated in the ongoing joint exercise between the USS Carl Vinson strike group and two Japanese destroyers.
Japan’s Air Self-Defense Force says the joint air and maritime exercise took place Friday in areas east of Japan’s southern island of Okinawa.
Two Japanese destroyers, the Samidare and the Ashigara, have been conducting naval exercises with the Carl Vinson as it heads north toward the Korean Peninsula for a joint exercise with South Korea.
Defense Minister Tomomi Inada told reporters that the exercises “would further strengthen the overall deterrence and response capabilities of the Japan-U.S. alliance, and showcase our country’s commitment and high ability in serving the regional stability.”
The U.S. will urge the U.N. Security Council to increase economic pressure on North Korea over its nuclear weapons program and to lean on China to turn the screws on its wayward ally.
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is meeting with allies Japan and South Korea before chairing a ministerial meeting of the U.N.’s top decision-making body. The U.S. wants to tighten the implementation of sanctions and build international resolve to isolate North Korea so Pyongyang eventually disarms.
That’s a goal that has eluded U.S. administrations for two decades, and the threat is intensifying. North Korea may already be able to strike its U.S.-allied neighbors with a nuclear-tipped missile, and could have the U.S. mainland within range by the end of President Donald Trump’s first term.
China’s foreign ministry has refused to confirm or deny U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s assertion that Beijing has threatened to impose unilateral sanctions on North Korea if it conducts further nuclear tests.
Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang repeatedly avoided giving a direct answer when asked about the matter at a daily press briefing.
Tillerson said China told the U.S. it had informed North Korea China would respond to a test by “taking sanctions actions on their own.”
China wants North Korea to end its nuclear weapons program, but has opposed unilateral sanctions imposed without a U.N. mandate.
Beijing has come under growing U.S. pressure to use its leverage as North Korea’s largest trading partner and main source of food and fuel aid to compel Pyongyang to heed U.N. resolutions.