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(3rd LD) Top diplomats of S. Korea, U.S., Japan urge N. Korea to halt provocations, resume dialogue

All News 13:14 February 13, 2022

(ATTN: UPDATES with remarks from foreign ministers, joint statement, minor edits throughout; RECASTS headline, lead; REPLACES photo)
By Byun Duk-kun

HONOLULU, Feb. 12 (Yonhap) -- The top diplomats of South Korea, the United States and Japan on Saturday urged North Korea to halt its destabilizing actions and return to dialogue.

The joint call came after a trilateral meeting between South Korean Foreign Minister Chung Eui-yong, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi in Honolulu.

"We condemn the DPRK's ballistic missile launches and its unlawful nuclear ballistic programs, which are clear violations of U.N. Security Council resolutions," Blinken said in a joint press conference, referring to North Korea by its official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

"And we continue to work to find ways to hold the DPRK accountable," he added.

South Korean Foreign Minister Chung Eui-yong (L), U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken (C) and Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi pose for a photo during their trilateral foreign ministerial talks in Honolulu on Feb. 12, 2022, in this photo provided by the South Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

The foreign ministerial talks here came after North Korea staged seven rounds of missile launches in January, marking the largest number of missile tests it has conducted in a single month.

Its missile launches also included the firing of an intermediate-range ballistic missile, the longest-range ballistic missile fired by North Korea since late 2017.

Chung said the North Korean missile launches were "clearly wrong."

"We are especially urging North Korea not to repeat such wrongful activities with regard to its firing of an intermediate-range missile," he said in the joint press conference with his U.S. and Japanese counterparts.

As a way of holding North Korea responsible for its actions, the top diplomats called for a full implementation of U.N. Security Council resolutions.

"The Secretary and Foreign Ministers condemned the DPRK's recent ballistic missile launches and expressed deep concern about the destabilizing nature of these actions," said the joint statement issued at the end of their trilateral talks.

"They called for full implementation by the international community of relevant UN Security Council resolutions relating to the DPRK and called on the DPRK to cease its unlawful activities and instead engage in dialogue," it added.

They still reaffirmed their commitment to dialogue with North Korea.

"The Secretary and the Foreign Ministers emphasized they held no hostile intent towards the DPRK and underscored continued openness to meeting the DPRK without preconditions," the joint statement said.

North Korea remains unresponsive to the U.S. outreach. It has also avoided any denuclearization talks since late 2019.

Blinken, Chung and Hayashi highlighted the importance of trilateral cooperation between their countries in dealing with North Korea.

"In this context, they committed to advance trilateral security cooperation," the joint statement said, without providing further details.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken (2nd from L) speaks at the opening of his bilateral meeting with South Korean Foreign Minister Chung Eui-yong in Honolulu on Feb. 12, 2022. (Yonhap)

The trilateral meeting followed Chung's bilateral talks with the Japanese foreign minister and then with his U.S. counterpart.

"The two ministers expressed concerns over North Korea's recent series of missile launches, and agreed to continue close cooperation between South Korea and the U.S. to prevent conditions on the Korean Peninsula from further deteriorating and for an early resumption of dialogue with North Korea," South Korea's foreign ministry said of the Chung-Blinken talks in a press release.

The foreign ministerial talks also followed bilateral and trilateral meetings between the countries' top nuclear envoys held earlier this week in Honolulu.

South Korea's top nuclear envoy Noh Kyu-duk earlier said he had very meaningful and productive discussions with his U.S. and Japanese counterparts on "several ways to engage with North Korea," and that the foreign ministers would continue their discussions when they met here.


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