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U.N. sanctions on N. Korea among U.S. foreign policy achievements: State Dept.

All Headlines 06:15 December 24, 2009

By Hwang Doo-hyong

WASHINGTON, Dec. 23 (Yonhap) -- The State Department Wednesday listed international cooperation to impose sanctions on North Korea for its missile and nuclear tests as one of the key foreign policy achievements this year.

The U.S. has "maintained an international coalition which condemned North Korea's missile and nuclear tests through the adoption of U.S. Security Council Resolution 1874," the department said in a report titled "Strategic Goals and Results."

Among other achievements are a resumption of negotiations with Russia to replace the expiring Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START), holding the first round of the U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue to discuss regional security concerns, nonproliferation, and military-to-military relations, the report said.

In anger over the U.N. sanctions, North Korea has boycotted the six-party talks on ending its nuclear weapons programs.

Stephen Bosworth, U.S. special representative for North Korea policy, visited Pyongyang earlier this month to lure the reluctant North back to the multilateral nuclear talks, but failed to secure a commitment.

Bosworth, however, said that Pyongyang has "indicated they would like to resume the six-party process," and "agreed on the essential nature of the joint statement of 2005."

The 2005 six-party deal calls for North Korea's nuclear dismantlement in return for massive economic aid, diplomatic recognition by Washington and Tokyo and establishment of a peace regime to replace the armistice that ended the 1950-53 Korean War.

U.S. officials have said they were ready to have another high-level, face-to-face meeting with the North to pave the way for reopening the multilateral nuclear talks even as skeptics predict North Korea will continue dragging its feet even if it returns.

Washington has said it will not reward the North just for returning to the table, and reiterated that sanctions will continue until the North takes substantial steps toward denuclearization.

They noted the cargo plane impounded in Bangkok earlier this month while carrying 35 tons of North Korean weapons to an unknown destination.

Dennis Blair, director of national intelligence, recently said, "Teamwork among different agencies in the United States and partners abroad just last week led to the interdiction of a Middle East-bound cargo of North Korean weapons."

Arms sales are one of the major sources of revenue for North Korea, suspected of being behind nuclear and missile proliferation in Syria, Iran, Pakistan and several other countries.

Susan Rice, U.S. ambassador to the U.N., Tuesday expressed satisfaction with international cooperation in implementing the sanctions on North Korea, saying they "are now the toughest sanctions on the books against any country in the world today."

The sanctions "have been actively and forcibly implemented by member states all over the world," she said. "So North Korea is feeling far greater pressure to halt its nuclear weapons program than it has in the past."

The United Arab Emirates in July seized a Bahamian-flagged ship carrying North Korean rocket-propelled grenades and other conventional weapons labeled as machine parts, the first seizure of its kind since the Security Council adopted Resolution 1874 in June after North Korea's nuclear test in May.

India seized a North Korean ship off its coast in early August only to find no weapons aboard.

In late June, a North Korean cargo ship, possibly on its way to Myanmar, returned home after being closely tracked by U.S. Navy vessels.


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