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(3rd LD) S. Korea, U.S. hail new N. Korea sanctions, agree to start missile guidelines talks early

All Headlines 18:24 August 06, 2017

(ATTN: ADDS more comments and info in last 6 paras)

MANILA, Aug. 6 (Yonhap) -- Top diplomats of South Korea and the United States on Sunday hailed the United Nation's adoption of new sanctions on North Korea over its recent intercontinental ballistic missile tests.

South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha and U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson also agreed to begin negotiations to revise guidelines on Seoul's missile capability "as early as possible."

They held talks in Manila on the sidelines of ministerial meetings hosted by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

Entering into the meeting, both praised the United Nations Security Council's unanimous approval the previous day of a new sanctions resolution against the North as a "very good outcome."

Kang, in particular, expressed gratitude for the U.S.' "full consultations" with Seoul in the process.

"It's a very good outcome and thank you for the full consultations with us in the process. Much appreciate it." Kang told Tillerson.

South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha (L) shakes hands with U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson before a bilateral meeting in Manila on Aug. 6, 2017. (Yonhap)

Resolution 2371, the eighth adopted by the UNSC since 2006, focuses on making it hard for the reclusive state to obtain hard currency that could be channeled into making weapons.

In response to a question about what more can be done after the latest U.N. action, Tillerson said, "We will talk about that."

After the 35-minute meeting, Kang told reporters that the resolution contains measures that are quite important and could be effective. She said Tillerson was also quite satisfied with the outcome.

Kang said that she explained to Tillerson about Seoul's push for inter-Korean talks for easing military tensions on the border and reunions of families separated by the 1950-53 Korean War.

South Korea proposed such talks last month, but Pyongyang has yet to respond.

A foreign ministry official told reporters that Tillerson expressed his "understanding" of Seoul's efforts to ease tensions while underlining the importance of close coordination between the two countries.

The secretary also emphasized the importance of "enforcing" the latest UNSC resolution, adding that China's resolve to carry them out is crucial, he said.

The top U.S. diplomat was also quoted as saying that what is needed for the North is not political declarations, but halting provocations.

Meanwhile, the two agreed to begin negotiations on revising the existing missile guidelines for South Korea "as early as possible," according to the official.

In 2012, the allies revised their ballistic missile guidelines extending Seoul's missile range limit from 300 kilometers to 800km, amid the North's advancing nuclear and ballistic missile capacities.

Under the deal, Seoul can load a warhead of up to 500kg on missiles with a range of up to 800km. The allies are working on doubling the weight of the warheads to 1 ton or more.


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