European ambassadors at the United Nations called on North Korea to reengage in talks with the U.S. over its nuclear weapons program and vowed that international sanctions will remain in place until Pyongyang complies.
North Korea needs to “take concrete steps with a view to abandoning all weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile programs,” according to a statement issued Tuesday by six European envoys following a closed-door U.N. Security Council meeting.
“It is vital that the Security Council upholds its resolutions,” said the ambassadors, who represent Germany, France, the U.K., Belgium, Poland and Estonia. “International sanctions must remain in place and be fully and strictly enforced.”
The Security Council meeting followed one day of talks in Sweden over the weekend between North Korean and American negotiators, the first such discussions in about eight months. Those talks ended with little agreement about what was even on the table. North Korean nuclear envoy Kim Myong Gil said the U.S. arrived “empty-handed” to the talks in Stockholm, a point disputed by State Department officials.
Kim Jong Un’s regime warned on Monday that North Korea could go on a “new path” if economic sanctions aren’t eased. It added that more talks with the U.S. are unlikely until measures are taken to withdraw Washington’s “hostile policy,” South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency reported.
After more than a year of diplomacy and three meetings between President Donald Trump and Kim, the U.S. and North Korea have yet to agree on what would even constitute North Korea’s denuclearization, let alone draw up a road map to achieve it. With the U.S. focused on direct talks with the regime, Europeans have taken the lead at the U.N. over the past year in calling out North Korea’s violations of sanctions.
The underwater firing of a Pukguksong-3 missile on Oct. 2 was the longest-range weapon Kim’s regime has tested since the last intercontinental ballistic missile test in November 2017. Pentagon officials have cast doubt on whether the missile was launched from a submarine, as earlier reports indicated, saying U.S. analysis suggests it was fired from a sea-based platform.
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