The Korea Herald


US sanctions to bring NK back to negotiation table: US official

By Jung Min-kyung

Published : Aug. 25, 2017 - 16:40

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The US labeled its new unilateral sanctions against North Korea as a measure to increase pressure on the hermit state and bring it back to the negotiation table amid Pyongyang’s lack of respect for such rules.

“These measures represent our whole of government approach to exert diplomatic and economic pressure on (North Korea) and its enablers, including third country individuals and entities,” Grace Choi, spokeswoman for the State Department’s East Asian and Pacific Affairs Bureau, told the Voice of America on Friday. 

(Yonhap) (Yonhap)

Choi added the goal of the US “pressure campaign” is to bring about denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula by persuading the North to abandon its current path and embrace meaningful dialogue about a different future.”

The comments refer to Washington’s new set of sanctions that aim to further economically isolate North Korea by tightening its grip on 16 entities and individuals mainly from China and Russia.

Washington has claimed that such measures prompted North Korea to tone down its threats, coupled with the United Nations Security Council’s adoption of stricter sanctions against Pyongyang.

US President Donald Trump said North Korea is “starting to respect” the US, during a campaign-style rally in Phoenix, stressing the effectiveness of his aggressive rhetoric against the hermit state.

Trump’s comments closely followed US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’ statements that North Korea has “demonstrated some level of restraint” with “no missile launches or provocative acts” in line with the new UNSC sanctions, during a press briefing in Washington on Tuesday.

But the Moon Jae-in administration said closer observation of the North’s actions is crucial before drawing any conclusions and the allies must stay alert at all times.

“It seems the statements are a clear announcement on the US government’s stance to solve North Korean issues peacefully and diplomatically,” said South Korea’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Cho June-hyuck on Thursday, referring to Trump and Tillerson’s statements.

“(However,) on whether such provocative measures are truly meaningful (and effective) would require a closer look into North Korea’s actions and staying alert,” he said.

Meanwhile, North Korea on Friday released rare criticism of its neighbors China and Russia for not extending their full support for the regime, while blaming the US for the heightened tension surrounding the Korean Peninsula.

“(North Korea) is strong and firm in its stand that the responsibility for the current tense situation entirely rests with the US and its vassal forces,” an article by Jong Myong-chol, a researcher at the Institute of International Studies of Korea, said.

“Even some big neighboring countries, which used to maintain principles at the UN arena with their own view in the past, now lie down flat before the US, frightened by its high-handed practices and bluffing,” he said.

The article published by the North’s Korea Central News Agency did not specifically name China and Russia, but referred to them by their traits and recent decisions.

“Those big neighboring countries are now doggedly standing in the way of the DPRK in bolstering its nuclear force for self-defense to cope with the US nuclear blackmail and threat,” he added.

The KCNA said Wednesday that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un had placed orders for more solid-fuel rocket engines and warhead tips, key parts of intercontinental ballistic missiles, regardless of the global pressure imposed on the nation.

By Jung Min-kyung (