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S. Korean top diplomat urges EU's partnership in penalizing N. Korea

All Headlines 19:18 November 30, 2016

SEOUL, Nov. 30 (Yonhap) -- South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se rallied support from European Union (EU) member countries on Wednesday as Seoul goes into high gear to press North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons program with the United Nations set to approve a new set of sanctions against Pyongyang.

Yun stressed the importance of the EU's role in pressuring North Korea for abusing the rights of the country's overseas-based workers and violating human rights of North Koreans in general during his meeting with Gerhard Sabathil, the EU's envoy to Seoul and the chiefs of 21 member countries' embassies in Seoul.

The meeting was hosted hours before the United National Security Council (UNSC) is set to vote on a resolution slapping more sanctions on North Korea over its fifth and the biggest nuclear test on Sept. 9. Against the backdrop, South Korea arranged the meeting in a bid to cement partnerships with EU countries over the North Korean nuclear issues, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.

"The EU's role is more important than ever for South Korea to be able to take a holistic approach to the North Korean issue," Yun was quoted as saying.

The top diplomat was referring to South Korea's push to use the North's human rights violations to broaden its efforts to mount international pressure against the reclusive country with the aim of eventually disarming it of weapons of mass destruction.

Yun said North Korea is using the European region as a foundation for economic recovery and as a shelter from its global diplomatic isolation.

The EU is a core partner for South Korea's policy of applying pressure against the North, along with the United States, Japan and Australia, the policymaker stressed.

During the meeting, the foreign minister also discussed South Korea's joint works with EU member countries on climate change, refugee issues and development on the trade front, the ministry said.

pbr@yna.co.kr
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