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U.S., South Korea, Japan say no to North Korea nukes

By Elizabeth Shim
U.S., South Korea, Japan say no to North Korea nukes
A South Korean soldier stands guard at the Dorasan Station in the Civilian Control area near the demilitarized zone (DMZ) in Paju, South Korea. Seoul’s foreign ministry confirmed six-party envoys of the United States, South Korea and Japan have reaffirmed their willingness to take steps necessary toward North Korea denuclearization. Photo by Keizo Mori/UPI | License Photo

SEOUL, May 11 (UPI) -- The United States, South Korea and Japan reaffirmed their commitment to the denuclearization of North Korea after Kim Jong Un defended his weapons program at the Seventh Party Congress.

South Korea's foreign ministry said Wednesday that envoys of the three countries exchanged phone calls to discuss the outcome of Pyongyang's congress, News 1 reported.

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The South's Special Representative for Korean Peninsula Peace and Security Affairs Kim Hong-kyun shared opinions with Kimihiro Ishikane, Japan's director general of the Foreign Ministry's Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau on Monday, Seoul said.

A day before, on Sunday, Kim spoke to Ambassador Sung Kim, the U.S. special representative for North Korea policy, to discuss the congress and a possible future response to Pyongyang.

The three envoys had agreed to step up international pressure based on the principle of denuclearization. Additional sanctions would not be ruled out if it means it could lead to North Korea giving up its nuclear weapons, the foreign ministry said.

South Korea is also "closely sharing views on the Seventh Party Congress across diplomatic channels with China and Russia," the foreign ministry said Wednesday.

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But while China and Russia have urged denuclearization, Russia has also been critical of U.S.-South Korea military activities on the peninsula.

Moscow delayed a statement at the United Nations Security Council that condemned North Korea missile launches in early May, because of its differing views on the joint drills.

China's relations with North Korea have worsened since Beijing agreed to implement the Security Council sanctions in March.

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