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S. Korea to make all-out diplomatic push to realize denuclearization of N. Korea

All Headlines 09:30 January 04, 2017

SEOUL, Jan. 4 (Yonhap) -- South Korea will make an all-out diplomatic push this year to pressure North Korea to give up its nuclear and missile development programs, the foreign ministry said Wednesday.

The ministry, in particular, plans to shed more light on the dire human rights situation in the North and "diversify" ways of supplying outside information to the people in the reclusive country, a way deemed to be effective in making them more aware of the reality facing their daily lives.

"We will work to induce denuclearization in the North through the framework of comprehensive sanctions and pressure," the ministry said in a report detailing its policy directions for this year.

"Efforts will be made to choke off the money flow into the North, isolate it diplomatically and coordinate with major countries for unilateral sanctions," it added.

The ministry earlier presented the 2017 policy report to Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn who serves as acting president following parliament's impeachment of President Park Geun-hye.

In the report, the ministry said it will make efforts to maintain a unified front against the North by strengthening its bilateral ties with the United States, China, Japan and other countries while pushing for coordination through international bodies and multilateral conversation channels.

South Korea has been active in rallying global support behind its push to punish the North for its continued pursuit of nuclear and missile technologies. The North conducted two nuclear tests last year, drawing international condemnation and the toughest ever sanctions on Pyongyang.

In November, the U.N. Security Council adopted its latest resolution focusing on restricting the North's coal exports, which are seen as its main source of income that's suspected of being used to advance its nuclear and missile programs.

Along with the restrictive measures on its trade, finance and economy, global efforts have also been made to let the world know about human rights violations taking place in the North as part of an effort to put more pressure on the Kim Jong-un regime.

The ministry said that it will ramp up pressure on the North through such efforts as holding those accused of human rights violations accountable and shedding more light on living conditions of North Korean people working overseas.

It will also try to expand access to information for North Koreans, seeing it as a major way to raise awareness among them about the reality they face in their country. In a related move, Britain's BBC plans to start airing programs about North Korean people, the ministry said.

Saying that the North is likely to carry out additional provocations in the first half of this year, the ministry emphasized the need for close communication with the U.S. and other major countries.

To maintain a strong alliance with the U.S. under Donald Trump, the ministry said that it will "actively" seek to hold high-level talks. In addition, it will push to arrange a foreign ministers' meeting between the two allies during the first quarter.

The ministry, meanwhile, worried that South Korea is facing the "gravest" diplomatic and security landscape since the end of the Cold War era, citing the North's evolving nuclear capability, complicated relations with neighboring countries and changes going on in the international order. It called for "proactive" and "pre-emptive" diplomacy to better deal with such challenges.

As for its relations with China, among other things, the ministry said that it will closely cooperate with Beijing on the North's nuclear threat but with regard to China's alleged retaliation against Seoul and Washington's decision to install a THAAD anti-missile system, it said that it will do its utmost to "minimize damage."

kokobj@yna.co.kr
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