US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will chair a special meeting of the UN Security Council to be convened later this week to discuss North Korea, the State Department announced Monday.
The ministerial meeting, set for Friday at the UN headquarters in New York, represents a US effort to drum up international support for its push to increase pressure on North Korea over its nuclear and missile programs.
"The DPRK poses one of the gravest threats to international peace and security through its pursuit of nuclear weapons, ballistic missiles, and other weapons of mass destruction as well as its other prohibited activities," the department said in a statement.
"The meeting will give Security Council members an opportunity to discuss ways to maximize the impact of existing Security Council measures and show their resolve to respond to further provocations with appropriate new measures," the statement said.
State Department acting spokesman Mark Toner said that Friday's meeting as well as a lunch meeting President Donald Trump hosted at the White House for ambassadors of UN Security Council member countries underscores concerns about the North's nuclear and missile programs.
"What the Secretary is going to be looking at and conveying to the other members of the Security Council on Friday ... is that there are already very strong sanctions in place against North Korea and it is incumbent on every member of the UN to carry out there to enforce those sanctions to the utmost," Toner said.
"And by doing that, we believe that we can significantly augment the pressure that North Korea," he said.
Toner said the North's acquisition of nuclear missile capabilities would be a "game changer."
"It's one of the reasons why you've seen administration officials talking so candidly about our concerns and about the fact that the time for strategic patience and that policy is over," he said. (Yonhap)