By Lee Haye-ah
WASHINGTON, March 25 (Yonhap) -- U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Wednesday that the Group of Seven major economies and other countries must continue to urge North Korea to return to denuclearization talks and pressure the regime to give up its nuclear program.
At a press briefing, Pompeo said he discussed a wide array of issues with his G7 counterparts during a virtual meeting held earlier in the day, including their response to the coronavirus pandemic and Iran's nuclear program.
"Similarly, the G7 and all nations must remain united in calling on North Korea to return to negotiations and stay committed to applying diplomatic and economic pressure over its illegal nuclear and ballistic missile programs," he said.
Denuclearization talks between the U.S. and North Korea have stalled since the February 2019 summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
The two sides last held working-level talks in Sweden in October, but failed to reach an agreement on how to match the North's denuclearization steps with U.S. concessions, including sanctions relief.
In recent weeks Pyongyang has resumed testing what South Korean officials say amount to short-range ballistic missiles.
U.N. Security Council resolutions ban North Korea from testing ballistic missiles and impose tough economic sanctions on the regime to try to stop their development.
The G7 groups Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States.
Five years after its full nuke armament claim, N. Korea's threat becomes real, further complicated
(News Focus) S. Korea grapples with calls for nuclear armament
Talk of 'normalizing' GSOMIA raises hope, skepticism around Seoul-Tokyo ties
S. Korea, U.S., Japan close ranks amid growing N.K. threats
N. Korea says month-old virus crisis under control, but skepticism lingers