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US says still open to North Korea talks but eyes action

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The United States said Tuesday it remained committed to talks with North Korea despite its “provocations” even as it seeks through the United Nations to tighten sanctions.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, overseeing a military parade following recent tests, vowed to accelerate his nuclear program rapidly as he watched tanks, rocket launchers and intercontinental ballistic missiles pass by late Monday.

“We do remain open to engaging in diplomacy and dialogue with the DPRK” on ending its nuclear program, State Department spokesman Ned Price said, referring to the North by its official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

“But we also have an obligation to address the recent provocations that we’ve seen from the DPRK including its two recent ICBM launches,” he told reporters.

Price said that Kim’s statement confirms “our assessment that the DPRK constitutes a threat to international peace and security and to the global non-proliferation regime.”

President Joe Biden’s administration has repeatedly offered dialogue with North Korea, which has shown little interest in working-level talks after Kim’s three high-profile meetings with Biden’s predecessor Donald Trump.

But diplomats say that the United States has also looked at seeking a cost on North Korea for its actions including its test-fire last month of an ICBM, its first since 2017.

A draft Security Council resolution presented earlier this month by the United States and seen by AFP would tighten sanctions including by reducing from four million to two million barrels the amount of crude oil North Korea would be allowed to import each year for civilian purposes.

The resolution, presented to all 15 Security Council members, would also impose restrictions on new exports by North Korea including of mineral fuels and clocks.

But a diplomat said that China, North Korea’s closest ally, and Russia, whose relations with the West have rapidly deteriorated over the Ukraine invasion, have so far refused any discussion on the draft resolution.

China and Russia both wield veto power on the Security Council although the two countries have agreed to some past UN sanctions after growing exasperated with North Korea.


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