Speaking at the UN Security Council's special meeting on North Korea in New York Friday (local time), Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se pointed out the communist nation is not interested in any dialogue on its own denuclearization.
What it wants is to be recognized as a nuclear power for "disarmament talks," he said.
|South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se (AFP-Yonhap)|
Talks for the sake of talks are not an option for the international community, he added, urging it to apply additional, tougher sanctions on Pyongyang to help dissuade it from provoking and coax it into returning to the bargaining table.
"In order to change the strategic calculus of Pyongyang and induce changes from within we could take potent measures such as halting the export and supply of crude oil to North Korea, completely cutting off North Korea's hard currency earnings by, for instance, suspending all imports from North Korea, and seriously consider whether North Korea, a serial offender, is qualified to be a member of the United Nations as well as downgrading diplomatic relations with North Korea," he told the audience, including US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi.
"Let me be clear, our goal is not to bring North Korea to its knees, but to it bring it back to the negotiating table for genuine denuclearization," Yun added.
He emphasized that the world should not repeat past failures in negotiations with the unpredictable regime.
Yun held a separate meeting with Tillerson on the sidelines of the UN session to discuss the North Korea issue.
The minister also explained Seoul's position on President Donald Trump's controversial comments that the Northeast Asian allies should pay for the cost of the THAAD missile defense system to be operated by US troops in the country, diplomatic sources said.
The South Korean government maintains that it has already done its part financially for the THAAD deployment and it has no additional burden to bear.
The South has faced diplomatic and economic pressure from China for its THAAD decision.
The Chinese foreign minister used the UN session to highlight Beijing's protest against it.
"I want to reiterate that China firmly opposes the deployment of the US THAAD anti-missile system in South Korea," Wang said.
"This move has undermined the strategic security of China and other countries in the region, and it has also damaged trust and cooperation among parties to the Korean Peninsula issue."
He added it will neither help efforts to denuclearize the peninsula nor help ensure long-term stability in the region. (Yonhap)