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North Korea rejects U.N. sanctions, threatens U.S to face “greatest pain”

by UNTV   |   Posted on Wednesday, September 13th, 2017

North Korea leader Kim Jong Un reacts during a celebration for nuclear scientist and engineers who contributed to a hydrogen bomb test, in this undated photo released by North Korea’s Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang on September 10,2017. KCNA via REUTERS

“The DPRK is ready to use any form of ultimate means. The forthcoming measures by DPRK will make U.S. suffer the greatest pain it’s never experienced in its history,” said North Korean Ambassador to United Nations in Geneva Han Tae Song.

North Korea threatened to resort into a drastic move against the United States. DPRK rejected on Tuesday the U.N. Security Council resolution imposing tougher sanctions.

“Instead of making a right choice with a rational analysis on overall situation, the Washington regime finally opted for political, economic and military confrontation,” said Han.

The security council unanimously stepped up sanctions against North Korea on Monday over the country’s sixth and most powerful nuclear test, imposing a ban on its textile exports and capping imports of crude oil.

North Korea was condemned globally for its latest nuclear test on September 3, which it said was of an advanced hydrogen bomb.

Meanwhile, U.S. Disarmament Ambassador Robert Wood took the floor to say that the security council resolution is clear of its message and hopes that DPRK will hear the message loud and clear, and it will choose a different path.

“The international community is tired, is no longer willing to put up with the provocative behavior this resolution gives us, I believe, a much better chance to prevent the regime from fueling and financing its nuclear and ballistic missile programs. We call on all countries to vigorously implement these new sanctions and all other existing sanctions,” said Wood.

In response to the resolution, Peru declared North Korea’s Ambassador Kim Hak-Chol a persona non grata on Monday to protest North Korea’s refusal to heed the world’s “constant calls” to end its nuclear program – giving him five days to leave the country.

Peru’s decision followed a similar move by Mexico last week and a public call from the United States last month for Latin American countries to sever ties with North Korea. — Reuters


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China’s Xi tells Trump hard-earned easing of tensions on Korean peninsula must continue

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Tuesday, January 16th, 2018

FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Donald Trump welcomes Chinese President Xi Jinping at Mar-a-Lago state in Palm Beach, Florida, U.S., April 6, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Barria/File Photo

BEIJING (Reuters) – China’s President Xi Jinping told U.S. President Donald Trump in a phone call on Tuesday that the hard-earned easing of tensions on the Korean peninsula must continue, Chinese state media reported.

Unity on the issue was extremely important, Xi said, according to Chinese state broadcaster CCTV.

Senior officials from 20 nations will gather in Vancouver on Tuesday for a summit on curbing North Korea’s nuclear ambitions, in a bid to increase diplomatic and financial pressure on Pyongyang to scrap its missile and nuclear programs.

Reporting by Christian Shepherd; Editing by Paul Tait

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Trump denies saying he probably had good relationship with Kim

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Monday, January 15th, 2018

A combination photo shows U.S. President Donald Trump in New York, U.S. September 21, 2017 and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in this undated photo released by North Korea’s Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang, September 4, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque, KCNA/Handout via REUTERS/File Photos

PALM BEACH, Fla. (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump on Sunday disputed a newspaper’s account of an interview with him last week in which he was quoted as saying he probably has a very good relationship with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

Trump said in tweets that in the Wall Street Journal interview on Thursday, he said “I’d probably” have a good relationship with Kim, using a conditional tense.

The White House released a portion of the audio from the interview that it said showed Trump said “I‘d.” The Wall Street Journal released its own audio that it said backed up its version of the events.

The Trump comment was key because it suggested he feels he has a good relationship with Kim, who has resisted global pressure to stand down from a series of nuclear and ballistic missile tests.

Trump has derided the North Korean leader as a “maniac” and referred to him as “little rocket man.” Kim has responded by calling the U.S. president a “mentally deranged U.S. dotard.”

Kim has warned the United States that he intends to build a nuclear arsenal capable of hitting the United States, prompting threats of military action by Washington.

In the Wall Street Journal interview, Trump was asked whether he has spoken with the North Korean leader.

“I don’t want to comment on it. I‘m not saying I have or haven‘t. I just don’t want to comment,” he had said.

Trump is spending a long weekend at his oceanfront Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, Florida.

“Obviously I didn’t say that,” tweeted Trump. “I said ‘I’d have a good relationship with Kim Jong Un,’ a big difference. Fortunately we now record conversations with reporters … and they knew exactly what I said and meant. They just wanted a story. FAKE NEWS!”

A White House official said the delay in publicly disputing the Journal’s account was the result of a failed attempt to get the paper to correct the record.

“The reason there was a delay is because we had several calls and emails with WSJ, starting Friday morning, asking them to issue a correction. They refused and so we pushed out our own clarification,” the official said.

Reporting by Steve Holland; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe

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China absence looms over Canada meeting on how to pressure North Korea

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Monday, January 15th, 2018

Head of North Korean delegation Ri Son Gwon, Chairman of the Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Country (CPRC) of DPRK, reaches out to shake hands with a South Korean official as he crosses a concrete border to attend their meeting at the truce village of Panmunjom in the demilitarised zone separating over the two Koreas, South Korea, January 9, 2018. REUTERS / Korea Pool

VANCOUVER (Reuters) – Foreign ministers from around 20 nations gather on Tuesday to discuss how to curb North Korea’s nuclear ambitions through diplomatic and financial pressure, but China, seen as a key player in any long-term solution, will be absent.

The Vancouver meeting, co-hosted by Canada and the United States, comes amid signs that tensions on the peninsula have eased, at least temporarily. North and South Korea held talks for the first time in two years last week and Pyongyang says it will send athletes across the border to the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics.

But the United States and others say the international community must look at ways of expanding a broad range of sanctions aimed at North Korea’s nuclear program.

“There is growing evidence that our maximum pressure campaign is being felt in North Korea. They are feeling the strain,” said Brian Hook, the State Department’s director of policy planning.

Hook told a briefing in Washington that participants, including U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, would examine how to boost maritime security around North Korea to intercept ships trying to defy sanctions as well as “disrupting funding and disrupting resources.”

The 17-nation Proliferation Security Initiative, which aims to prevent the trafficking of weapons of mass destruction, on Friday said “it is imperative for us to redouble our efforts to put maximum pressure on North Korea”.

But North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has shown no sign of willingness to give in to U.S. demands and negotiate away a weapons program he sees as vital to his survival.

Another challenge in Vancouver will be the absence of China, which has significant influence in North Korea. Beijing is Pyongyang’s only ally and its chief trading partner.

The meeting primarily groups those nations that sent troops to the Korean war of 1950-53, when China fought alongside the North. Beijing condemned the gathering.

“Holding this kind of meeting that doesn’t include important parties to the Korean peninsula nuclear issue actually cannot help in advancing an appropriate resolution to the issue,” foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang told a regular briefing.

Other invitees include Japan and South Korea, front-line U.S. allies in the Washington-led effort against North Korea.

Hook said China and Russia – which is also not attending – would be fully briefed on the conclusions. That said, Beijing’s absence will be felt, say diplomats.

“Without China there is a real limit as to what can be achieved,” said one senior diplomatic source.

Zhao Tong, a North Korea expert at the Carnegie-Tsinghua Center in Beijing, said the United States did not want Russia and China potentially distracting the discussion by raising their proposal to halt joint U.S.-South Korean military drills that the North says are a prelude to an invasion.

Fears of war have eased somewhat after the first round of intra-Korean talks in more than two years, and Trump, in an interview with the Wall Street Journal on Thursday, appeared to signal more of an openness toward diplomacy after a period of exchanging insults and threats with Kim.

But U.S. officials say hawks in the Trump administration remain pessimistic that the North-South contacts will lead anywhere.

Even so, debate within the U.S. administration over whether to give more active consideration to military options, such as a pre-emptive strike on a North Korean nuclear or missile site, has lost momentum ahead of February’s Olympic games, the officials said.

For his part, Trump has vacillated between praising and criticizing China, which he has cast as critical to reining in North Korea’s nuclear ambitions.

The White House on Friday welcomed news that China’s imports from North Korea plunged in December to their lowest in dollar terms since at least the start of 2014, with trade curbed by United Nations sanctions.

Last month, however, Trump accused China of allowing oil into North Korea, which he said would prevent “a friendly solution” to the nuclear crisis. Beijing denied the charge.

Additional reporting by Arshad Mohammed, John Walcott, David Brunnstrom, Matt Spetalnick and David Alexander in Washington and Christian Shepherd and Michael Martina in Beijing; Editing by Mary Milliken and James Dalgleish

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