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S. Korea, U.S. vow to pressure N. Korea till it moves toward denuclearization

All News 22:19 July 25, 2016

VIENTIANE, July 25 (Yonhap) -- Top diplomats from South Korea and the United States on Monday reaffirmed the importance of keeping pressure on North Korea so it will give up its nuclear ambitions, at bilateral talks held on the sidelines of a meeting of Asia-Pacific nations in Laos, the foreign ministry said.

Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry also agreed to work together in an upcoming regional security forum in the Laotian capital to drive home the international community's firm stance against Pyongyang's defiant pursuit of nuclear weapons, they added.

"Both reaffirmed that it is important to keep the momentum for sanctions and pressure alive until the North gives up its provocations and moves toward denuclearization," the ministry said.

"In particular, the two agreed to work in a way that the North can feel the international community's resolute will during the ASEAN-related meetings down the road," it added.

Yun and Kerry held their talks in Vientiane, the venue for a series of meetings led by the Association of Southeast Nations (ASEAN). The annual gathering will culminate with the ASEAN Regional From, a rare international occasion attended by all members of the six-party talks aimed at ending the North's nuclear program.

The six-party talks set up to resolve the North's nuke issue were last held in late 2008. The participating countries are the two Koreas, the U.S., China, Japan and Russia.

Yun and Kerry also shared the view that their planned deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system on the peninsula will enhance their joint military deterrence against the North.

The THAAD deployment decision announced earlier this month came despite strong opposition from China and Russia which have voiced opposition and claimed the anti-ballistic missile system could hurt their strategic security interests. Seoul and Washington have said that THAAD only aims to counter North Korea's nuclear and missile threats.

In bilateral talks with Yun late Sunday, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi criticized South Korea for hurting the foundation for trust between the two countries by taking the latest action.

Yun and Kerry agreed to keep up their efforts to have as many chances as possible to make their stance understood, the ministry said.


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