Act before North Korea does, Tillerson tells UN

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said on Friday the threat of an attack by Pyongyang against Japan and South Korea is real and urged the UN Security Council to act “before North Korea does.”

In remarks to the U.N Security Council, Tillerson called on the international community to fully implement U.N. sanctions and to suspend or downgrade diplomatic relations with Pyongyang.

“With each successive detonation and missile test North Korea pushes northeast Asia and the world closer to instability and broader conflict,” Tillerson told the 15-member council.

“The threat of a North Korean attack on Seoul or Tokyo is real.”

NAN reports that the meeting comes just days after council ambassadors said President Donald Trump made clear, over lunch on Monday at the White House, that he would be the U.S. leader to deal with Pyongyang, ideally peacefully.

“They are now in the phase of working out what the best way to do that is,” said a senior council diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity.

“It was left hanging that there clearly would be a military solution if needed.”

The Trump administration is focusing its North Korea strategy on tougher economic sanctions, possibly including an oil embargo, a global ban on its airline, intercepting cargo ships and punishing Chinese banks doing business with Pyongyang, U.S. officials told Reuters earlier this month.

Washington is also stepping up pressure that began under the Obama administration against Cambodia, Laos and Malaysia, which have diplomatic and financial links to Pyongyang, to downgrade or cut diplomatic ties with North Korea.

The U.S, which is president of the Security Council for April, urged members, in a note outlining Friday’s meeting, to “show their resolve to respond to further provocations with significant new measures.”

NAN reports that the UN Security Council has adopted 21 resolutions concerning North Korea.

Five resolutions were adopted during the Korean War in the 1950s.

In 1991, a single resolution was adopted regarding North Korea’s accession to membership in the UN.

Through 1990s to 2010s, 15 resolutions have been adopted in relation to the North Korean missile and nuclear programme, most recently in November 2016.

In the resolution adopted in 2016, the Council prohibited Pyongyang from exporting copper, nickel, silver and zinc, new helicopters and vessels, as well as statues.

It decided further that all Member States shall take steps to limit the number of bank accounts held by diplomatic missions and consular posts, as well as diplomats of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea within their respective territories.

Council also resolved that member states should further close existing representative offices, subsidiaries or bank accounts in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea within 90 days, unless required for the delivery of humanitarian assistance.

The Council decided further that all Member States shall suspend scientific and technical cooperation with persons or groups officially sponsored by, or representing, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea except for medical exchanges, among others.

 

Source: NAN

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