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U.S. official urges enforcement of UNSC sanctions against N. Korea

All News 18:19 September 29, 2016

SEOUL, Sept. 29 (Yonhap) -- A senior U.S. official said Thursday the international community should continue to enforce sanctions against North Korea as part of an ongoing effort to counter the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD).

"The continued provocations by North Korea are troubling for the entire international community. As we do look forward to... all of us need to continue to enforce United Nations Security Council resolutions and other activities that push back against that provocations," Wendin Smith, deputy assistant secretary of defense for countering weapons of mass destruction at the U.S. Department of Defense, said in a telephone press briefing with Asia-based reporters.

She is in Singapore to participate in the regional Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI) exercise dubbed "Deep Sabre" that is being held from Monday through Friday.

The PSI is a cooperative effort to stop WMD, delivery systems and related materials from being proliferated. It is not a treaty mechanism but is entirely about countries voluntarily endorsing the principle, Smith said.

There are 105 countries that have endorsed the PSI principles, and the annual exercise was kicked off by the U.S. in 2014. Twenty-one nations have gathered in Singapore for live exercises, academic seminars and other cooperative efforts, she said.

"The key objective this year is to encourage efforts between endorsing parties to counter proliferation of WMDs. So many commercial items are dual-use items that can be part of WMDs," the U.S. official said.

Another aim is to promote capacity building among participating countries, including the U.S., South Korea, Japan, Australia and New Zealand, to prevent the proliferation of WMDS, she said.

Asked if the PSI can fight against the North's ever-growing nuclear and missile threats, she said, "We do not target particular countries... it is purely to demonstrate capabilities and to practice the cooperation of the whole community to counter proliferation threats."

She acknowledged North Korea as a "big concern" for the U.S. and its allies. The North has conducted four nuclear tests in the past decade and appears to have achieved some improvement in technology to put a warhead on a ballistic missile.

Meanwhile, Smith called on China, which sent its representative to the annual event's opening ceremony, to participate more in countering WMDs.

"We welcomed their (China's) participation (in the event)... its continued involvement is welcome to endorse PSI," she said.


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