Ambassador Samantha Power met with South Korean officials on Monday and highlighted the work of a defector-activist during her first official visit to Seoul. File Photo by Eskinder Debebe/UN
SEOUL, Oct. 10 (UPI) -- The top U.S. diplomat to the United Nations said all political leverage would be used to arrive at a strong response to North Korea's Sept. 9 nuclear test.
On the same day she visited with a North Korean defector-activist at his home in Seoul, Ambassador Samantha Power told reporters the United States plans to engage China, North Korea's closest ally, "at the highest level," adding that it will "maintain and deepen" contact with Beijing, Yonhap reported.
Similar plans extend to Moscow, Power said.
"With regard to Russia or any country, we will exert all the political influence that we can, on behalf of the strongest possible resolution, and just as I and my team have been working around the clock, on this issue...we will work around the clock to try to shore up support from all [U.N. Security] Council members," she said.
Earlier on her first official visit to South Korea, Power had stopped by the truce village of Panmunjom between the two Koreas.
On Monday, the ambassador met with South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se and later called on defector Jung Gwang-il, who left North Korea in 2004 after his release from Yodok prison camp.
In a message on Twitter, Power called Jung "heroic" for "smuggling" information on democracy into North Korea.
Since resettling in the South Jung and his organization No Chain has launched campaigns to infiltrate North Korea with CDs and flash drives containing South Korean television shows, Hollywood films and other information that is banned by the Kim Jong Un regime.
Jung was sentenced to Yodok from 2000 to 2003 and fled North Korea by making his way across the China border.
But as more defectors escape to China, Chinese residents are increasingly working with local authorities to repatriate the refugees, Radio Free Asia reported on Sunday.
A source in North Hamgyong Province told RFA more defectors are being returned not because they are arrested at the border but because locals in China are cooperating with public security officials.
But the crackdown has yet to stem the tide of defections, according to the report.