U.S. goal of denuclearizing Korean Peninsula will not change: State Dept.
By Byun Duk-kun
WASHINGTON, Dec. 13 (Yonhap) -- The United States remains fully committed to completely denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula and that goal will not change, a state department spokesperson said Tuesday.
The department spokesperson, Ned Price, also stressed the importance of holding North Korea accountable for its recent missile provocations.
"We have conveyed our policy position by noting that we undertook a comprehensive review of our policy towards the DPRK in the early part of this administration," Price said in a telephonic press briefing, referring to North Korea by its official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.
"In the aftermath of that policy review, we identified the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula as our overarching objective, and as you heard from our South Korean counterpart, and perhaps slightly different language, I don't foresee that changing," he added.
The department spokesperson was echoing the remarks of South Korea's special envoy for North Korea Kim Gunn, who said Seoul's goal of denuclearizing the North will not be reconsidered in a million years.
Kim made the remark in a meeting with his U.S. counterpart, Sung Kim, and Japanese counterpart, Takehiro Funakoshi, in Jakarta where the U.S. special envoy for North Korea is concurrently serving as U.S. ambassador.
Price insisted the Jakarta meeting underscored the close cooperation between the three countries to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula, as well as U.S. commitment to the security of its two Asian allies.
Monday's meeting of the nuclear envoys also came after the three countries simultaneously announced their own independent sanctions on a number of individuals and entities supporting North Korea's nuclear and missile development programs.
"They also reviewed the synchronized trilateral release of sanctions targeting the DPRK in early December, and emphasized the need to use all available tools to further limit the growth of the DPRK's destabilizing ballistic missile and nuclear weapons programs," Price said of the meeting.
North Korea has fired 63 ballistic missiles this year, setting a new annual record that far exceeds the previous record of 25.
The state department spokesperson also hailed the announcement of additional sanctions against North Kora by the European Union on Monday.
"The fact that our allies in Europe have taken additional concrete steps to hold the DPRK accountable is something we applaud," said Price, adding, "We are working with allies and partners around the world to see to it that the DPRK is held to account."
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