Rex Tillerson urges lull in North Korea 'threatening behaviour' before any talks

Frederick Owens
December 17, 2017

After his phone call with President Vladimir Putin earlier Friday, US President Donald Trump said that he would "love" to have help from Russian Federation on North Korea.

Ja Song Nam, in a very rare appearance at the council by a North Korean, said Friday that his country's possession of nuclear weapons "was an inevitable self-defensive measure to defend our sovereignty and rights to existence and development from the USA nuclear threat and blackmail".

But beyond the rhetoric, there were no new measures taken up by the council.

"North Korea must earn its way back to the table", Mr Tillerson told the foreign ministers.

"A sustained cessation of North Korea's threatening behaviours must occur before talks can begin", Tillerson said at a United Nations Security Council meeting to discuss the country's nuclear weapons programme. And it will continue the "pressure campaign" of economic sanctions and diplomatic isolation "until denuclearization is achieved".

In remarks before the U.N. Security Council on Friday, Tillerson said "we will never accept a nuclear North Korea". China argues that such a move would provoke a humanitarian disaster.

He said that with crude oil still flowing into North Korean refineries, the U.S. also questions China's commitment to "solving an issue that has serious implications for the security of its own citizens".

Wu Haitao told a ministerial meeting of the U.N. Security Council Friday that "the current situation on the (Korean) Peninsula is not caused by any one party alone, and it is not possible to impose on any one party the responsibility of solving the problem".

Instead of responding, the ambassador said the council has adopted 11 sanctions resolutions against North Korea.

Guterres sharply criticized North Korea, saying its "actions show a blatant disregard for the will and resolutions of the Security Council and undermines the global norms against nuclear testing and the nuclear nonproliferation regime".

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However, Mr Trump's Administration has now said it is willing to sit down with North Korean officials in an attempt to hammer out a diplomatic solution to the tension.

The stakes for the meeting had only grown in recent days.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and U.S. President Donald Trump affirmed in Tokyo last month that they will exert the maximum possible pressure on Pyongyang to compel it to give up its nuclear and ballistic missile programs, both of which are the subject of worldwide sanctions.

He urged the Security Council not to backtrack from the demand that North Korea abandon its nuclear and missile programs "in a complete, verifiable and irreversible manner". "We would like to have Russia's help", said Trump, who discussed North Korea by phone with President Vladimir Putin on Thursday.Pyongyang has carried out its sixth nuclear test and conducted a series of missile launches including its first tests of two intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM) this year.

General Jack Keane said as it stands the world is "heading to a military solution" to end the tension on the Korean peninsula.

Tillerson spoke at a meeting on North Korea's proliferation convened by Japan, which holds the rotating Security Council presidency this month.

The White House quickly distanced itself from Tillerson's remarks.

Later Friday, the United Nations' independent investigator on human rights in North Korea, Tomas Ojea Quintana, met with the families of abducted Japanese citizens. They should agree to what we propose: "'Put your drills - which, in principle, are a provocation by the United States against the North - on hold for the talks to start", Kim said.

"The DPRK remains the only country to continue to break the norm against nuclear testing", Guterres noted, using the abbreviation for North Korea's formal name.

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