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U.S. calls for sustained, substantive talks with North Korea

U.S. calls for sustained, substantive talks with North Korea
Ambassador to the U.N. Linda Thomas-Greenfield called on nations to shore up their sanctions  against North Korea to prevent the Asian nation from continuing to advance its weapons programs. File Photo by Tasos Katopodis/UPI | License Photo

Oct. 21 (UPI) -- A day after North Korea fired a ballistic missile into the East Sea, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations said it was time for the Asian nation to halt its belligerent behavior and engage in "sustained and substantive dialogues" toward denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula.

U.S. Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield told reporters Wednesday in a press conference before an emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council on North Korea's recent missile launch that the United States remains ready to meet with Pyongyang officials without preconditions.

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"We hold no hostile intent toward the DPRK," she said, referring to North Korea by the initials of its official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

The Biden administration has taken a "calibrated, practical approach" to dealing with North Korea, and Washington officials have repeatedly said they are willing to meet their Pyongyang counterparts without preconditions for denuclearization negotiations, which the Kim Jong Un regime has so far rejected.

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Denuclearization talks between the two sides came to a halt following a 2019 summit in Hanoi, Vietnam, between then-U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim when no agreement was reached.

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In the past few months, North Korea has test-fired several missiles, including five since September.

Tuesday's missile was launched from a military submarine and in violation of international law, as North Korea is barred from testing ballistic missiles and nuclear weapons.

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The United States condemned the launch, which violated multiple Security Council Resolutions, and which Thomas-Greenfield said should not be viewed in isolation as each test advances North Korea's weapons capabilities and destabilizes the region while threatening international peace and security.

To combat this, she called on U.N. member states to "fulfill their sanctions obligations ... so that we can prevent the DPRK from accessing the funds, the technology, the knowhow it needs to further develop its unlawful weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile programs."

A sanctions regime is in place, but that it needs to be enforced, she said.

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"Frankly, the 1718 Committee is not doing its job," she said, referring to the U.N. Security Council Sanctions Committee on North Korea, which was established in 2006 with resolution 1718. "We need to enforce these violations. We need to ramp up the implementation of the sanctions."

The permanent representatives to the U.N. for Ireland, Estonia and France condemned the missile launches in a joint statement, stating Tuesday's was indicative of the North's continued enhancement of its ballistic and nuclear weapons capabilities.

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"These launches clearly demonstrate the need for the full and effective implementation of U.N. sanctions, as well as the urgent need to address sanctions evasion by the DPRK," the European Union countries said. "We call on the international community to comply with the obligation to strictly enforce these sanctions, including by reporting on their implementation in accordance with the resolutions adopted by the council."

They also urged North Korea to engage with the United States and South Korea with the goal of achieving lasting peace.

North and South Korea remain technically at war as the Korean War of 1950-53 ended with an armistice.

In North Korea, a spokesman with the foreign ministry accused the United States of hypocrisy for condemning its missile launches, the state-run Voice of Korea reported.

"It is a clear double standard and will only increase our doubt about their 'true feelings' that they are not hostile to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea," the spokesman said. "We have already expressed our strong concern about the fact that the United States and the U.N. Security Council are fooling with the dangerous 'time bomb.'"

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