(ATTN: UPDATES throughout with more remarks by Yun, background; ADDS photo)
By Lee Haye-ah
SEOUL, March 14 (Yonhap) -- Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se called on South Korean diplomats on Monday to devote all of their effort to resolving the North Korean nuclear issue following the adoption of new sanctions on the communist regime.
Yun made the call during an annual gathering of ambassadors and other heads of overseas missions, saying South Korea should lead the international community in enforcing U.N. Security Council Resolution 2270.
The resolution, adopted earlier this month to punish North Korea for its recent nuclear and missile tests, calls for the mandatory inspection of all cargo going into and out of the North and a ban on the country's exports of coal and other mineral resources, among other things.
"As a result of our close coordination with the international community over two months, the Security Council adopted a strong and effective sanctions resolution unprecedented in U.N. history," Yun said at the session's opening at the ministry's headquarters in Seoul. "In order for the resolution to be strictly implemented, we must not become lax in its implementation and encourage the international community to follow it so that the pressure exerted on the North by our allies will create synergy."
By doing so, North Korea will be forced to change its course and come forward for "meaningful" talks on its denuclearization, he said.
Yun took note of the fact that Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi recently expressed his willingness to consider various dialogue formats if they could accelerate a resumption of negotiations on North Korea's nuclear program. Wang's remarks were seen as a step back from Beijing's earlier position that holding nuclear talks without North Korea would anger Pyongyang and exacerbate the standoff.
"Within the framework of the six-party talks, I expect trilateral talks among South Korea, the U.S. and China to take off in the near future," Yun said. "From that standpoint, I take note of the fact that Foreign Minister Wang Yi showed an open attitude to not only three-way and four-way talks but also to five-way talks."
The six-party denuclearization talks, involving the two Koreas, China, Japan, Russia and the United States, have been stalled since late 2008.
Yun said the current diplomatic and security situation facing South Korea is "extremely grave" after the North's nuclear test on Jan. 6 and the long-range rocket launch on Feb. 7.
He also noted that North Korea has continued its belligerent behavior with threats to deploy nuclear warheads, carry out pre-emptive nuclear strikes and conduct further nuclear tests.
"More than ever before, we must carry out all-out diplomacy to resolve North Korea's nuclear and other issues," Yun said. "Our diplomacy is at a historic turning point."
On the U.N. resolution, the minister added that it reflected the international community's growing awareness that the North Korean nuclear issue must be resolved within the context of the greater "North Korea issue."
Out of all the U.N. resolutions on North Korea, Resolution 2270 was the first to mention North Korea's human rights situation by expressing "deep concern" for the North Korean people's "grave hardship."
Yun also called for the faithful implementation of last year's accord between South Korea and Japan to resolve the issue of Korean women forced into sexual slavery for Japanese troops during World War II.
The deal has caused controversy here as some of the victims and critics have argued it falls short of their demands. The Japanese government fueled the controversy when its officials made statements disputing the forced nature of the sexual slavery.
31 diabetes drugs banned for suspected carcinogen substance
Summer to be hotter this year with occasional torrential rain: weather agency
Five more foreigners deported for breaching self-isolation rules
(LEAD) KBO bans ex-major leaguer Kang Jung-ho for 1 year before potential return
(LEAD) Itaewon cluster grows to 237, six stages of transmission confirmed
(LEAD) Logistics center-linked virus cases snowball to 69, emerging as another cluster in greater Seoul
S. Korea to enhance quarantine measures in greater Seoul area amid spiking cases
(LEAD) S. Korea's virus fight in trouble amid new cluster, daily infections at 2-month high
(4th LD) New virus cases at 2-month high, tougher social distancing in line for metropolitan area
2.8 magnitude quake hits southern region