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S. Korea, U.S. agree to push for 'exhaustive' enforcement of UNSC resolution

All Headlines 13:37 March 03, 2016

SEOUL, Feb 3 (Yonhap) -- South Korea and the U.S. have agreed to strengthen cooperation in the "exhaustive" enforcement of the newly adopted U.N. Security Council (UNSC) resolution slapping tough sanctions on North Korea for its recent provocations, Seoul's Foreign Ministry said Thursday.

During their talks in Geneva, Switzerland, on Wednesday, Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se and U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Tony Blinken also agreed to further raise pressure on the North to denuclearize through stringent bilateral sanctions and international cooperation.

"Minister Yun and Deputy Secretary Blinken shared the understanding that the adoption of the resolution carrying the strongest and effective sanctions is a representative case of the close cooperation between South Korea and the U.S.," the ministry said in a press release.

Yun and Blinken were in Geneva to attend a set of international conferences on arms control and human rights.

Their talks came after the UNSC adopted Resolution 2270 to punish the North for its fourth nuclear test on Jan. 6 and its long-range missile launch on Feb. 7, and to curb its weapons programs through a fresh package of stringent sanctions.

The new measures require mandatory inspection of all cargo going into and out of the North, while banning its exports of coal, iron and other mineral resources, a key source of hard currency that accounts for nearly half of the country's aggregate exports to China.

The two officials also noted that the "serious" human rights abuses in the North could pose a threat to peace and security of the international community by increasing the risks of instability in the isolated state. To help address the issue, they agreed to seek to bring more international attention to the human rights of North Korean laborers overseas.

North Korea watchers believe more than 50,000 North Koreans are working under very poor conditions overseas, mostly in Russia and China. The communist regime is thought to extort most of their earnings, which are estimated at around $200 million per year.

Pointing to the possibility of additional North Korean provocations, Yun and Blinken agreed to maintain a firm joint defense.

Separately, Yun held talks with U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, the Foreign Ministry said. They shared the need to implement a set of recommendations that the U.N. Commission of Inquiry (COI) has made to enhance the North's woeful human rights situation.

In early 2014, the COI released its investigation report on the North's human rights conditions. The report found evidence of torture, executions, arbitrary incarceration, deliberate starvation and other appalling practices that the COI said amounted to "crimes against humanity."

sshluck@yna.co.kr
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