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U.S., South Korea officials discuss China's role in sanctions

Tony Blinken said China must step forward in its role at the U.N. Security Council.
By Elizabeth Shim Contact the Author   |   Feb. 18, 2016 at 10:12 PM
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WASHINGTON, Feb. 18 (UPI) -- Deputy Secretary of State Tony Blinken met with a senior South Korean official to discuss ways to expand North Korea sanctions, a day after stating the United States needs "a resolution with real teeth" in the wake of Pyongyang's recent tests.

Cho Tae-yong, deputy chief of South Korea's presidential national security office, met with Blinken Thursday, Yonhap reported. The two officials discussed ways to apply more pressure on the North to produce a change in the country's behavior.

In Washington and Seoul, tougher sanctions were passed to terminate any remaining lifelines to the North's nuclear weapons and missile technology sectors. On Thursday afternoon, President Obama signed into law a North Korea sanctions bill that can take action against individuals and entities abetting Pyongyang's weapons program and human rights abuses.

Earlier on Wednesday, Blinken told Charlie Rose on PBS that China must play a more proactive role in the passage of a stronger resolution at the United Nations Security Council.

"We are making a little bit of progress but, look, I believe at the end of the day they will come around to a strong Security Council resolution," Blinken said.

In the absence of Chinese cooperation, Blinken said the United States would have to take steps to establish a larger deterrent in South Korea, pointing out the anti-missile defense system THAAD is just one example of U.S. strategy.

"We have now entered into active consultations with our South Korean partners and allies on the deployment of a THAAD missile defense system, not directed at China. Actually won't affect China strategically," Blinken said.

On Thursday Blinken and Cho also discussed ways to persuade China to join in the multilateral effort to strengthen sanctions at the Security Council.

Beijing has condemned North Korea's fourth nuclear test, and on occasion has said stronger embargoes are needed to send a message to Pyongyang.

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