Posts Tagged ‘South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung Wha’

South Korea says ‘comfort women’ row with Japan unresolved despite 2015 deal — “The agreement failed to sufficiently reflect a victim-oriented approach” — Wounds that never heal

December 27, 2017

Reuters

SEOUL (Reuters) – A 2015 deal with Japan over South Korean “comfort women” forced to work in Japan’s wartime military brothels failed to meet the victims’ needs, South Korea said on Wednesday, throwing ties into doubt as both countries seek to rein in North Korea.

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South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-Wha speaks before a briefing of a special task force for investigating the 2015 South Korea-Japan agreement over South Korea’s “comfort women” issue at the Foreign Ministry in Seoul, South Korea December 27, 2017. REUTERS/Jung Yeon-Je/Pool Reuters

South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha apologized for the controversial deal as a panel appointed by her in July to investigate the negotiations leading up to the agreement unveiled its results.

“I apologize for giving wounds of the heart to the victims, their families, civil society that support them and all other people because the agreement failed to sufficiently reflect a victim-oriented approach, which is the universal standard in resolving human rights issues,” Kang told a news conference.

Under the deal, endorsed by South Korean President Moon Jae-in’s predecessor and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Japan apologized to former comfort women and provided 1 billion yen ($8.8 million) to a fund to help them.

The two governments agreed the issue would be “irreversibly resolved” if both fulfilled their obligations.

But Moon has said the South Korean people did not accept the deal.

The investigation concluded that the dispute over the comfort women, a Japanese euphemism for the girls and women, many of them Korean, forced to work in wartime brothels, could not be “fundamentally resolved” because the victims’ demand for Japan’s legal compensation had not been met.

South Korean former ‘comfort women’ Gil Won-Ok (L) and Kim Bok-Dong (C), who were forced into sexual slavery for Japanese soldiers during the second world war. File photo: AFP

Tokyo says the matter of compensation for the women was settled under a 1965 treaty with Seoul.

Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said the agreement that the issue had been resolved “finally and irreversibly” had been confirmed by both governments.

“It is extremely important that this agreement be steadily implemented,” Suga told a regular news conference before the report had been released.

“The government will continue tenaciously to urge the South Korean side at every opportunity to steadily implement this agreement.”

 A child touches a statue symbolising comfort women after it was unveiled in Chuncheon, Gangwon Province, South Korea. Photo: EPA

South Korea and Japan are key to international efforts to rein in North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs that it pursues in defiance of U.N. Security Council resolutions. The comfort women issue has been a regular cause for contention between Japan and neighbors China and North and South Korea since the war.

Japan colonized the Korean peninsula between 1910 and 1945 and occupied parts of China before and during World War Two.

The South Korean government will review the result of the investigation and translate it into policy after consulting victims and civic groups that support them, Kang added.

Reporting by Hyonhee Shin; Additional reporting by Kaori Kaneko in Tokyo; Editing by Nick Macfie

See also:

http://www.scmp.com/news/asia/east-asia/article/2125824/south-korea-says-war-sex-slave-row-japan-unresolved-despite-2015

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Japan minister agrees with South Korea that China’s role vital on North Korea

December 19, 2017

South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha (L) shakes hands with her Japanese counterpart Taro Kono as they attend the Japan-ROK Foreign Minister meeting at the ministry of foreign affairs in Tokyo on December 19, 2017. (AFP)

TOKYO: Japan and South Korea agreed on Tuesday on the importance of China’s role in dealing with the threat from North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs, Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono told reporters after meeting his South Korean counterpart.

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The two US allies are seeking to boost cooperation over North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs, despite lingering tension between them over the issue of “comfort women,” a Japanese euphemism for women — many of them Korean — forced to work in Japanese military brothels before and during World War Two.
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Ties have been frozen over the issue, with South Korean President Moon Jae-in promising to renegotiate a 2015 pact signed with Japan that is unpopular in South Korea.

IAEA Says North Korea’s Rapid Weapons Progress Poses New, Global Threat

September 29, 2017

SEOUL — The United Nations nuclear watchdog’s chief said on Friday North Korea’s sixth nuclear test conducted on Sept. 3 showed the isolated country has made rapid progress on weapons development that posed a new, global threat.

Image result for Yukiya Amano, IAEA, photos

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director Yukiya Amano

Tensions on the Korean peninsula have increased markedly since the test, which led to a new round of sanctions against the North after a unanimous U.N. Security Council resolution.

“(The) yield is much bigger than the previous test, and it means North Korea made very rapid progress,” International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director Yukiya Amano told reporters in Seoul.

“Combined with other elements, this is a new threat and this is a global threat,” he said after a meeting with South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha.

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South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha

Amano said the IAEA did not have the capacity to determine whether the North had tested a hydrogen bomb, as Pyongyang has claimed.

“What is most important for now is for the international community to unite,” Amano said.

Tensions had already flared after North Korea tested two more intercontinental ballistic missiles and other launches as it pursues its nuclear and missile programs in defiance of international pressure.

South Korea said on Thursday the North could engage in more provocations near the anniversary of the founding of the North Korean communist party and China’s all-important Communist Party Congress.

Insults and threats hurled between the North’s leader Kim Jong Un and U.S. President Donald Trump have aggravated the situation further. Members of the international community have urged both countries to resolve matters peacefully while boosting pressure on Pyongyang to curb its weapons programs.

A U.S. State Department official said on Thursday China was making progress in enforcing sanctions imposed on North Korea, and urged skeptical members of Congress not to rush to enact new measures before giving Beijing’s efforts a chance to take effect.

(Reporting by Christine Kim; Editing by Paul Tait)

South Korea Seeks Bigger Warheads — North Korean ICBM Reportedly on the Move — “Sanctions won’t stop that big a weapon”

September 5, 2017

SEOUL — South Korea said on Tuesday an agreement with the United States to scrap a weight limit on its warheads would help it respond to North Korea’s nuclear and missile threat after Pyongyang conducted its sixth and largest nuclear test two days ago.

South Korean officials believe more provocation from the reclusive state is possible, despite international outrage over Sunday’s test and calls for more sanctions on North Korea.

South Korea’s Asia Business Daily, citing an unidentified source, reported on Tuesday that North Korea had been observed moving a rocket that appeared to be an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) towards its west coast.

Image result for north korean ICBM on TEL, moving, photos, countryside

The rocket started moving on Monday and was spotted moving only at night to avoid surveillance, the report said.

South Korea’s defense ministry, which warned on Monday that North Korea was ready to launch an ICBM at any time, said they were unable to confirm the report.

Analysts and South Korean policymakers believe North Korea may engage in another provocation on or around Sept. 9, when the North celebrates its founding day. North Korea’s fifth nuclear test fell on the same day last year, reflecting Pyongyang’s preference to conduct weapons tests on key holidays for strategic impact.

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MILITARY BUILDUP

South Korea is talking to Washington about deploying aircraft carriers and strategic bombers to the Korean peninsula, and has been ramping up its own defenses in the meantime.

South Korea’s navy held more drills on Tuesday.

“Today’s training is being held to prepare for maritime North Korean provocations, inspect our navy’s readiness and to reaffirm our will to punish the enemy,” an unidentified South Korean naval officer told a Defence Ministry briefing.

U.S. President Donald Trump and his South Korean counterpart Moon Jae-in agreed on Monday to scrap a warhead weight limit on South Korea’s missiles, South Korea’s presidential office said, enabling it to strike North Korea with greater force in the event of a military conflict. The White House said Trump gave “in-principle approval” to the move.

The United States and South Korea signed a pact in 1979, a year after the South successfully tested a ballistic missile, with Washington expressing the need for limits on ballistic missile capability over concerns that such tests could harm regional security.

South Korea and the United States are technically still at war with North Korea after the 1950-53 Korean conflict ended with a truce, not a peace treaty.

Both sides have thousands of rockets and artillery pieces aimed at each other across the world’s most heavily armed border but the North’s rapid development of nuclear weapons and missiles has altered the balance, requiring a stronger response from South Korea, officials say.

“We believe the unlimited warhead payload will be useful in responding to North Korea’s nuclear and missile threats,” Defence Ministry spokesman Moon Sang-gyun told a briefing on Tuesday.

Under the current guidelines, last changed in 2012, South Korea can develop missiles up to a range of 800 km (500 miles) with a maximum payload of 500 kg (1,102 pounds).

The Hwasong 14 ICBM, tested twice by the North in July, has a potential range of up to 10,000 km (6,210 miles) and is capable of carrying a 300-700 kg (660-1,540 pounds) warhead, according to the NTI.

“PATIENCE NOT UNLIMITED”

On Monday, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said North Korean leader Kim Jong Un was “begging for war” and urged the 15-member U.N. Security Council to impose the “strongest possible” sanctions to deter him and shut down his trading partners.

Trump held calls with foreign leaders on Monday, including Moon and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and the White House declared that “all options to address the North Korean threat are on the table”.

Haley said the United States would circulate a new Security Council resolution on North Korea this week and wanted a vote on it on Monday.

“War is never something the United States wants. We don’t want it now. But our country’s patience is not unlimited. We will defend our allies and our territory,” Haley said.

South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha said on Tuesday she felt her Chinese counterpart, Wang Yi, was open to additional sanctions on North Korea after they discussed the North’s sixth nuclear test.

“I cannot tell you exact details as the minister asked me not to disclose the content of our discussion, but I could sense that China could be open to more sanctions,” Kang told lawmakers in parliament after her phone call with Wang on Monday.

Diplomats have said the Security Council could now consider banning North Korean textile exports and its national airline, stop supplies of oil to the government and military, prevent North Koreans from working abroad and add top officials to a blacklist to subject them to an asset freeze and travel ban.

The sanctions imposed after July’s missile tests aimed to slash Pyongyang’s $3 billion annual export revenue by a third by banning exports of coal, iron, lead and seafood.

China accounted for 92 percent of North Korea’s trade in 2016, according to South Korea’s government trade promotion agency.

For a graphic on nuclear North Korea, click: http://fingfx.thomsonreuters.com/gfx/rngs/NORTHKOREA-MISSILES/010031V7472/index.html

(Reporting by Christine Kim; Additional reporting by Michelle Nichols at the UNITED NATIONS and Tim Ahmann and David Shepardson in WASHINGTON; Writing by Lincoln Feast; Editing by Paul Tait)

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China scores diplomatic coup in sea row — China pushes for new six-party talks on N. Korea — “It’s a slam dunk diplomatic victory for China”

August 6, 2017

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MANILA (AFP) – 

China on Sunday scored a diplomatic coup in its campaign to weaken regional resistance against its sweeping claims to the South China Sea when Southeast Asian nations issued a diluted statement on the dispute and agreed to Beijing’s terms on talks.

After two days of tense meetings on the dispute in the Philippine capital, foreign ministers from the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) issued a joint communique that diplomats involved said was carefully worded to avoid angering China.

The release of the statement came shortly after the ministers met with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and agreed on a framework for conducting negotiations on the decades-long row that included key clauses advocated by China.

“This is an important outcome of our joint effort,” Wang told reporters as he celebrated the agreement.

China claims nearly all of the strategically vital sea, through which $5 trillion in annual shipping trade passes and is believed to sit atop vast oil and gas deposits.

Its sweeping claims overlap with those of ASEAN members Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia and Brunei, as well as Taiwan.

China has dramatically expanded its presence in the contested areas in recent years by building giant artificial islands that could be used as military bases, raising concerns it will eventually establish de facto control over the waters.

In what two diplomats involved said was another victory for Beijing on Sunday, ASEAN members declined to say in their joint statement that the hoped-for code of conduct with China be “legally binding”.

Vietnam, the most determined critic of China on the issue, had insisted during two days of negotiations that ASEAN insist the code be legally binding, arguing otherwise it would be meaningless.

The ASEAN ministers failed to release the joint statement as expected after meeting on Saturday because of their differences on the sea issue, with Vietnam pushing for tougher language and Cambodia lobbying hard for China.

“Vietnam is adamant, and China is effectively using Cambodia to champion its interests,” one diplomat told AFP on Sunday as negotiations extended into overtime.

– Consensus struggle –

Tensions over the sea have long vexed ASEAN, which operates on a consensus basis but has had to balance the interests of rival claimants and those more aligned to China.

Critics of China have accused it of trying to divide ASEAN with strong-armed tactics and chequebook diplomacy, enticing smaller countries in the bloc such as Cambodia and Laos to support it.

The Philippines, under previous president Benigno Aquino, had been one of the most vocal critics of China and filed a case before a UN-backed tribunal.

The tribunal last year ruled China’s sweeping claims to the sea had no legal basis.

But China, despite being a signatory to the UN’s Convention on the Law of the Sea, ignored the ruling.

The Philippines, under new President Rodrigo Duterte, decided to play down the verdict in favour of pursuing warmer ties with Beijing. This in turn led to offers of billions of dollars in investments or aid from China.

“It’s clear that China’s pressure on individual ASEAN governments has paid off,” Bill Hayton, a South China Sea expert and associate fellow with the Asia Programme at Chatham House in London, told AFP.

Hayton and other analysts said the agreement on a framework for talks on Sunday came 15 years after a similar document was signed committing the parties to begin negotiations

The 2002 document was more strongly worded against China.

China used those 15 years to cement its claims, while continuing to get ASEAN to issue ever-weaker statements of opposition, according to the analysts.

“It would appear China has never lost in terms of seeing the language of ASEAN forum statements being toned down,” Ei Sun Oh, adjunct senior fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore, told AFP.

Philippine academic and security analyst Richard Heydarian expressed stronger sentiments as he summarised Monday’s developments: “Overall it’s a slam dunk diplomatic victory for China”.

by Ayee Macaraig, Martin Abbugao
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China pushes for new six-party talks as N. Korea

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© Eduardo Munoz Alvarez, AFP | UN Security Council members vote on a resolution toughening sanctions on North Korea at UN headquarters in New York on August 5.

Video by Elizabeth WALSH

Text by Khatya CHHOR 

Latest update : 2017-08-06

A day after the UN imposed strict new sanctions on North Korea, China’s foreign minister called Sunday for the resumption of six-party talks to halt Pyongyang’s nuclear programme and warned that the crisis was entering a “critical” new phase.

In a 15-0 vote on Saturday, the UN Security Council imposed tough new sanctions on North Korea that could slash its exports by as much as $1 billion a year – a third of its export revenue – in response to two intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) tests Pyongyang carried out last month. The July tests heightened fears that North Korean missiles were now capable of hitting the continental United States.

“After the UN resolution is passed, the situation on the peninsula will enter a very critical phase,” said Chinese Foreign Minister Wang, quoted by China’s CGTN state broadcaster. “We urge all parties to judge and act with responsibility in order to prevent the tensions from escalating.”

The UN resolution imposes a total ban on exports of coal, iron, lead, iron and lead ore as well as seafood. It also prohibits new investment in, or the establishment of, joint ventures with North Korean companies. Nine North Korean officials and four entities were added to the UN’s blacklist while foreign permits for North Korean workers have been suspended.

Wang warned Pyongyang that it should make “smart” decisions going forward, while counselling Washington and Seoul not to respond with “provocative” actions.

Speaking to reporters after talks with North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Hong-Yo on the sidelines of an ASEAN summit in Manila, Wang said he had urged Pyongyang to stop testing “the international community’s goodwill” with its ICBM launches and nuclear tests.

Wang noted that the new UN resolution also calls for a return to negotiations, saying diplomatic measures were needed to prevent the stand-off from escalating further.

Earlier on Sunday, Wang said that all sides should work toward restarting long-stalled six-party nuclear talks between China, North Korea, South Korea, Japan, Russia and the United States.

“The aim is to bring the peninsula nuclear issue back to the negotiating table and seek a solution through negotiations until the denuclearisation of the peninsula and the stability of the peninsula are achieved,” he said.

North Korea pulled out of the six-party talks in 2009 after the UN Security Council condemned it for launching a long-range rocket.

A deputy spokeman for the Japanese foreign ministry on Sunday welcomed the UN sanctions but added that more “effective pressure” was needed in dealing with Pyongyang and that it was not yet time to restart talks.

“Now is not the time for dialogue but the time to increase effective pressure on North Korea so that they will take concrete actions towards de-nuclearisation,” Toshihide Ando told a press conference in Manila.

US pressure on Beijing

US President Donald Trump has repeatedly urged China to take a more aggressive role in reining in Pyongyang’s nuclear ambitions. As North Korea’s largest trading partner, China is uniquely positioned to apply economic and diplomatic pressure on North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un.

“This is the most stringent set of sanctions on any country in a generation,” US Ambassador Nikki Haley said after the Security Council vote.

The US led resolution passed by the SC on N. Korea will be a loss of 1/3 of their exports = over $1 billion in hard currency 

But she warned that the international community “should not fool ourselves into thinking we have solved the problem – not even close”.

“The threat of an outlaw nuclearised North Korean dictatorship remains … [and] is rapidly growing more dangerous,” Haley said.

China urges US concessions

In an interview with the MSNBC news channel on Saturday, US National Security Adviser HR McMaster was asked if the United States was gearing up for a pre-emptive “first strike” against North Korea.

Trump “has been very clear” that “he will not tolerate” Pyongyang being able to threaten the United States with a nuclear weapon, McMaster said, and that entails keeping all options – including a “preventive war” – on the table.

But he acknowledged that any military solution would mean “a very costly war, in terms of the suffering of mainly the South Korean people”.

McMaster said the US seeks instead to do “everything we can” to pressure Kim and his entourage into concluding that “it is in their interest to denuclearise”.

In his statements on Sunday, Foreign Minister Wang reiterated Beijing’s proposal for what it calls a “double suspension” – a halt to North Korea’s nuclear ambitions in exchange for an end to the joint US-South Korean military exercises that alarm Pyongyang.

“This is currently the most realistic and plausible initiative, and it is the most reasonable and friendly solution,” Wang said.

But speaking to MSNBC, McMaster said Beijing’s plan to offer a freeze on joint training in return for a freeze on Pyongyang’s nuclear programme was no longer viable.

“They are at a threshold capability now. ‘Freeze for freeze’ doesn’t work anymore,” he said, adding: “The goal is denuclearisation of the peninsula.”

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Ri Yong Ho, Wang Yi

North Korea Shrugs Off Sanctions Despite China’s Push to End Missile Tests — Has China Bested the Trump Administration?

August 6, 2017

U.S. lauds China for supporting latest U.N. sanctions, but Pyongyang has no plans to change

The bespectacled North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi after their meeting in Manila on Sunday.
The bespectacled North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi after their meeting in Manila on Sunday. PHOTO: BULLIT MARQUEZ/ASSOCIATED PRESS

MANILA—The U.S. praised China for backing new economic sanctions by the U.N. Security Council against Pyongyang over the regime’s weapons program, but North Korea indicated to its most important economic partner that there would be no change in policy.

“The fact that the Chinese were helpful and instrumental in setting up this really sweeping set of international sanctions shows they realize that this is a huge problem they need to take on, that it’s a threat to them and their region,” Susan Thornton, the U.S. State Department’s acting assistant secretary for East Asian and Pacific affairs, told journalists on the sidelines of regional security meetings in the Philippines on Sunday.

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who is attending the forum bringing together 27 nations, including China, Russia, South Korea and North Korea, described the sanctions as “a good outcome” as he works to curb Pyongyang’s nuclear-weapons program.

The Security Council on Saturday unanimously passed a resolution that would slash about $1 billion from North Korea’s annual foreign revenue. Ms. Thornton called the sanctions the strongest against the regime in a generation. China and Russia, two permanent council members who had previously resisted fresh sanctions against Pyongyang, said the rogue nation’s recent provocations were unacceptable.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Sunday met his North Korean counterpart, Ri Yong Ho, in Manila and urged Pyongyang to halt its missile tests and other actions that violate Security Council resolutions, according to the People’s Daily Online, an official Chinese state media website.

“The China side pressed the North Korea side to deal calmly with the new UN Security Council resolution regarding North Korea, and to stop the missile tests, and even nuclear research, which violate UN Security Council resolutions and the wishes of the international community,” the People’s Daily Online said.

The North Korean minister restated Pyongyang’s policy on the nuclear weapons issue, but indicated a “willingness to maintain communications with the China side on this point,” according to Chinese state media. North Korea says it needs such weapons and maintains the right to build them to defend itself from the U.S.

The nine-page U.N. resolution steps up trade restrictions with Pyongyang by aiming to cut off a third of its $3 billion annual export revenue. It bans North Korea from trading coal, iron, lead, iron and lead ore, and seafood, and prohibits countries from hiring North Korean laborers and from entering or investing into new joint ventures with Pyongyang.

The resolution came after a months-long drive by the U.S. to pressure nations to isolate the North Korean regime in response to an unprecedented pace of missile testing in its ambitions to become a nuclear power. Last month, North Korea fired two missiles that appeared capable of reaching the continental U.S. and Europe. Diplomats said this raised the stakes and elevated North Korea’s military and nuclear threat from regional to global.

Before meeting with the North Korean minister in Manila, Mr. Wang said the sanctions were a necessary reaction to the launches, but urged countries to resume the negotiations known as the six-party talks, stalled since 2008. The talks included China, the U.S., South Korea, North Korea, Japan and Russia.

Mr. Wang repeated China’s call for a “dual freeze,” in which North Korea would halt its missile and nuclear programs in exchange for the U.S. and South Korea stopping major military exercises. The U.S. and South Korea rebuffed that proposal previously, and Ms. Thornton did so again Sunday.

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson shakes hands with South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha in Manila on Sunday.
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson shakes hands with South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha in Manila on Sunday. PHOTO: U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE/EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY

The U.S. will also focus on ensuring China follows through on fully implementing the new sanctions, Ms. Thornton said, suggesting China had in the past acted initially, before “slipping back” over time. “We want to make sure China…is working actively to continue putting pressure on North Korea,” she said.

Ms. Thornton also praised Saturday’s “really strong” statement by the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations, which hosts the annual security meetings. The countries condemned North Korea’s weapons testing and called on the regime to comply with U.N. measures.

Mr. Tillerson doesn’t have a scheduled meeting with North Korea’s Mr. Ri, but both men are expected during the meeting of all 27 participants Monday.

The U.S. Secretary of State did meet with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov for more than an hour late Sunday, ahead of a gala dinner. Neither official made any public comment.

Write to Ben Otto at ben.otto@wsj.com

https://www.wsj.com/articles/north-korea-shrugs-off-sanctions-despite-chinas-push-to-end-missile-tests-1502020932?mod=e2tweu

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Ri Yong Ho, Wang Yi

U.S. Pushes China To Enforce North Korea Sanctions

August 6, 2017

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Ri Yong Ho, Wang Yi

MANILA, Philippines (AP) — The Latest on developments on efforts to ratchet up pressure on North Korea over its nuclear program. (all times local):

2:35 p.m.

The United States says it will be watching China closely to ensure it fully and continuously implements new U.N. sanctions on North Korea.

Susan Thornton is the top U.S. diplomat for Asia. She says in the past, there’s been a pattern in which China complies with sanctions after a North Korean provocation, but then slips back over time.

Thornton says the U.S. wants to ensure that with the new sanctions, there’s “not this kind of episodic back and forth that we’ve seen.”

Still, Thornton says China’s vote for the sanctions is a good step that shows Beijing understands the gravity of the problem.

Thornton says the U.S. isn’t currently considering China’s proposal to freeze U.S. military exercises with South Korea in exchange for North Korea halting nuclear development. She says the U.S. rejects any “moral equivalency” implied by that proposal.

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2:20 p.m.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi says he urged his North Korean counterpart to abide by U.N. resolutions and stop provoking “the international community’s goodwill” with missile launches and nuclear tests.

Wang spoke to reporters in Manila after meeting with North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho on the sidelines of a regional meeting after the U.N. Security Council unanimously approved tough new sanctions to punish Pyongyang for its escalating nuclear and missile programs.

Wang said the two had an intensive conversation during which China urged North Korea to maintain calm. He says he told Ri “do not violate the U.N. decision or provoke the international community’s goodwill by conducting missile launches or nuclear tests.”

Wang also urged the U.S. and South Korea “to stop increasing tensions” and said that all sides should return to negotiations.

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1:40 p.m.

The United States and North Korea’s neighbors are joining in a fresh attempt to isolate Pyongyang over its nuclear and missile programs, in a global pressure campaign. It is being cheered on by President Donald Trump.

After weeks of U.S. frustration over China’s reluctance to take action, Trump’s strategy of relying on Beijing’s help showed early signs of paying off. The White House praised China’s move to join a unanimous U.N. Security Council resolution slapping new sanctions that could cut off about one-third of the North’s roughly $3 billion in annual exports.

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12:30 p.m.

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says the approval of new U.N. sanctions targeting North Korea over its nuclear and ballistic missile programs is a “very good outcome.”

Tillerson is meeting with South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha in the Philippines on the sidelines of a regional summit. Tillerson says he and the South Korean diplomat plan to discuss the sanctions during their meeting, along with next steps to pressure the North.

Kang is echoing Tillerson’s praise for the sanctions approved Saturday by the U.N. Security Council. She says it was a “very, very good outcome.” Kang is thanking the U.S. for consulting with South Korea on the sanctions.

The meeting comes as the U.S. and Asian nations join together to try to step up Pyongyang’s economic and diplomatic isolation.

Asean: Korea standoff threatens global peace

August 6, 2017
South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha answers questions from reporters as she arrives at the NAIA yesterday to attend the 50th ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting. AP

MANILA, Philippines – Southeast Asian foreign ministers yesterday expressed grave concern about rising tensions in the Korean Peninsula stemming from long-range missile tests by North Korea that “seriously threaten” global peace and security.

Taking a stronger tone than it has previously on the standoff, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) called for North Korea to comply with United Nations Security Council resolutions on its nuclear program and make a positive contribution to regional peace.

A statement was issued separately, rather than included in ASEAN’s customary communiqué at the end of the foreign ministers’ meeting.

Following the foreign ministers’ meeting is Monday’s annual ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), which gathers 27 foreign ministers, including those of Russia, Japan, South Korea, the United States, China and North Korea, to discuss Asian security issues.

The statement of the ASEAN foreign ministers on the developments in the Korean Peninsula was issued yesterday even before US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was to arrive in Manila to participate in Asia’s biggest security forum.

The ASEAN foreign ministers’ statement declared: “We, the foreign ministers of the ASEAN, reiterate our grave concerns over the escalation of tensions in the Korean Peninsula, including the most recent testing by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) of intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM) on 4 and 28 July 2017 and previous ballistic missile launches and two nuclear tests in 2016.”

The ministers urged North Korea to immediately comply fully with its obligations under all relevant UN Security Council Resolutions.

“We reiterate our support for the complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula in a peaceful manner, call for the exercise of self-restraint and underscore the importance of creating conditions conducive for dialogue to de-escalate tensions,” the statement said.

North Korea was urged to contribute to the ARF vision as a participant of the ARF.

“We strongly call upon (North Korea) as a participant of the ASEAN Regional Forum, to positively contribute to realize the ARF vision to maintain the Asia-Pacific as a region of lasting peace, stability, friendship and prosperity,” said the ASEAN ministers.

North Korea is determined to develop a nuclear-tipped missile capable of hitting the United States and officials in Washington say its latest test a week ago showed it may be able to reach most of the country.

China has urged calm and restraint from all countries involved in the standoff.

Short of tougher line

The ASEAN position is short of the tougher line on North Korea urged by the United States, which wants Southeast Asian countries to downgrade their relations with the already isolated nation.

ASEAN countries have argued that it is difficult since its members do not have substantive ties with North Korea.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano, who is chairing the Manila meetings, said on Friday ASEAN would not consider expelling North Korea from the ARF.

He argued it is better to have dialogue and utilize a rare opportunity where parties involved in the issue are meeting together.

“There were views that, how can we hear them out or confront them (North Korea) if they’re not there?” he told reporters after a late-night discussion with his ASEAN counterparts.

Some Asian countries, including South Korea, are hoping to have bilateral talks with North Korea’s foreign minister, Ri Yong-Ho.

He left Pyongyang yesterday and was en route to Manila, the North’s official KCNA news agency reported.

“If there is a chance, I would tell him that we must have dialogue and that the North must stop the continuous provocations,” South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha told reporters upon arrival in Manila.

“Moreover, I will tell him that to build a peace system, North Korea must respond to the two proposals we recently suggested.”

The United Nations Security Council was set to vote yesterday on a US-drafted resolution that aims to slash by a third North Korea’s $3-billion annual export revenue over Pyongyang’s two ICBM tests in July.

North Korea briefed diplomats of Indonesia, Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia in Pyongyang on Tuesday about the “resounding success” of its latest ICBM test, its foreign ministry said on its website.

In the posting yesterday, it said diplomats were told the US “trumpeting” about war and its threat of sanctions only increased Pyongyang’s “vigilance and courage,” and justification for its tests.

Open to discussion

Kang said she was open to rare discussions with her North Korean counterpart.

“If there is an opportunity that naturally occurs, we should talk,” she added.

Kang, South Korea’s first female foreign minister, said any meeting with Ri would be an opportunity “to deliver our desire for the North to stop its provocations and positively respond to our recent special offers (for talks) aimed at establishing a peace regime.”

Seoul last month proposed military talks with Pyongyang but the North refused to respond. Had they gone ahead, they would have been the first official inter-Korean talks since 2015.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un has defied international pressure to decelerate his country’s nuclear weapons capabilities, and boasted after the second ICBM test that he could strike any target in the US.

In response, Washington drafted the planned UN resolution to toughen sanctions against Pyongyang.

The US also said it hoped to build unified pressure on the North at the Manila forum.  – AFP

ASEAN unable to issue communique amid disagreement on South China Sea stance — And concern for China’s sensitivity to criticism

August 5, 2017

Reuters

By Manuel Mogato

Malaysia’s Foreign Minister Anifah Aman, Myanmar Minister of State of Foreign Affairs U Kyaw Tin, Thailand Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai, Vietnam’s Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh, Philippine Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano, Singapore’s Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan, Brunei’s Foreign Minister Lim Jock Seng, Cambodia’s Foreign Minister Prak Sokhonn, Indonesia’s Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi, Laos’ Foreign Minister Saleumxay Kommasith and ASEAN Secretary-General Le Luong Minh join hands for a family photo during opening ceremony of the 50th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Regional Forum (ARF) meeting in Manila on August 5, 2017. Mohd Rasfan/Pool