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U.S. offer of more U.N. sanctions on N. Korea seen as part of efforts for dialogue: Seoul

Diplomacy 17:10 January 13, 2022

By Kim Eun-jung

SEOUL, Jan. 13 (Yonhap) -- South Korea said Thursday the U.S. push for additional U.N. sanctions on North Korea appears intended to drum up a unified response from the international community to Pyongyang's recent provocations.

Washington appears to want to expand sanctions under existing U.N. Security Council resolutions rather than to adopt new resolutions, according to Choi Young-sam, spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

He was referring to a public message by the U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Linda Thomas-Greenfield that was issued hours after the Joe Biden administration's announcement of its own sanctions on six North Korean officials linked to Pyongyang's ballistic missile program and weapons of mass destruction.

"On top of today's designations by @StateDept and @USTreasury, the U.S. is proposing @UN sanctions following North Korea's six ballistic missile launches since September 2021, each of which were in violation of UN Security Council resolutions," she wrote on Twitter.

Asked about Washington's move, Choi said it is understood to reflect its pursuit of dialogue and diplomacy involving Pyongyang and its call for the international community to stand together in response to North Korea's back-to-back test-launches of what it claims to be hypersonic missiles earlier this month.

"It is seen as reflecting the U.S. current stance that both dialogue and implementation of sanctions on North Korea are imperative," Choi said during a regular press briefing.

He added that South Korea will collaborate with the U.S. in that regard.

"South Korea and the U.S. will continue efforts to resume dialogue to come up with a substantive solution to the North Korean nuclear issue," Choi said. "We urge North Korea to return to the negotiating table without aggravating the situation."

North Korea is already subject to a wide web of U.N. Security Council sanctions for its nuclear and long-range missile tests, which ban it from making any launch using ballistic missile technology. Many observers agree that implementation is the key.

It remains unclear whether the U.N. council will reach a consensus on adding sanctions on Pyongyang especially as two permanent members -- China and Russia -- have veto power.

Meanwhile, the U.S. notified South Korea in advance of its decision to impose the latest sanctions on North Korean officials via diplomatic channels, a foreign ministry official said on background.

This photo, released by North Korea's official Korean Central Television on Jan. 12, 2022, shows what the North claims to be a new hypersonic missile being launched the previous day. (For Use Only in the Republic of Korea. No Redistribution) (Yonhap)


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