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North Korea: new US sanctions expected

Ⓒ AFP – Brendan Smialowski – | US President Donald Trump in New York, September 20, 2017

The United States will take new sanctions against North Korea, Donald Trump said Thursday, ahead of meetings with its Japanese and South Korean allies and a meeting of the UN Security Council on nuclear non-proliferation.

“We are going to impose new sanctions on North Korea,” said the US president, who had threatened Tuesday in his first major speech to the United Nations to “completely destroy” this country and its “vicious regime”. He is scheduled to meet in New York with his counterparts directly targeted by North Korean threats, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and South Korean President Moon Jae-In.

In mid-September, after an eighth round of tough sanctions adopted by the Security Council, Donald Trump judged them to be just another “small step” in the right direction, questioning their impact .

At the UN General Assembly rostrum, Moon called for easing tensions to avoid “an accidental military confrontation” with Pyongyang. South Korea does not want the “collapse” of North Korea, he said, pleading for a political solution.

– ‘Unprecedented threat’ –

In China, the Foreign Ministry reaffirmed “remaining committed to the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula” and stressed that “dialogue” and a “peaceful process” were the only means of achieving it.

World leaders remain divided over how best to calm Pyongyang even though they have twice succeeded in adopting unanimous sanctions in August and early September.

China and Russia, closest supporters of the North Korean regime and whose leaders of diplomacy must speak on Thursday at the UN forum, continue to plead for diplomatic talks, believing that a military action – Donald Trump regularly raises the possibility – would be catastrophic.

On Wednesday, however, Shinzo Abe supported Washington’s position that “all options are on the table” to bring North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un to reason.

“The gravity of the threat is unprecedented” and it is “urgent” to face it, said the Japanese leader, whose country was recently overflewed twice by Pyongyang missiles, which also carried out its test most powerful nuclear power plant to date.

“What we need is not dialogue but pressure,” he said.

– ‘In full dream’ –

At the meeting of the Security Council scheduled at 4:00 pm (8:00 pm GMT), US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson should insist on full implementation of international sanctions.

The North Korean regime of Kim Jong-Un must immediately “stop the insane choices that could lead to the fall” and “renounce its nuclear program in a verifiable and irreversible way,” insisted Moon Jae-In. He called on the international community to “retaliate more vigorously” by applying the sanctions and considering “other measures in case of further provocations”.

The latest round of UN sanctions was adopted on 12 September. In particular, they prohibit imports of North Korean textiles and reduce Pyongyang’s oil supplies.

“We have some indications that gasoline shortages are beginning,” but “we knew it would take time for these sanctions to take effect,” Rex Tillerson said in New York.

Washington and its allies hope that these strengthened sanctions will force Pyongyang to negotiate the end of its military programs.

The United States has refused any concession to open such negotiations, while Moscow and Beijing propose a double moratorium on North Korean experiments and US-South Korean military exercises.

Commenting on the US military threat, French President Emmanuel Macron said on Wednesday that he could “have a tactical interest” in “moving North Korea: it was when such threats appeared that movements towards the negotiation could be done “.

“If Russia and China increase the pressure by additional sanctions, it is likely to move North Korea,” he added.

But the North Korean foreign minister treated Donald Trump’s latest threats with contempt: “There is a proverb that dogs bark, the caravan passes,” said Ri Yong-ho on his arrival in New York. “If they try to scare us with barking, they are clearly in full swing.”

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