N Korea warned of ‘dire consequences’
WASHINGTON’S top envoy John Kerry warned North Korea yesterday that it faced “real consequences” over its ongoing nuclear and missile testing program.
“Together we are determined ... to make absolutely certain that DPRK understands that there are real consequences for these actions,” he told reporters on the sidelines of a summit in Laos, using the official acronym for the authoritarian hermit state.
Tensions have soared since Pyongyang carried out its fourth nuclear test in January, followed by a series of missile launches that analysts say show the North is making progress toward being able to strike the United States mainland.
United Nations sanctions against the North have been ratcheted up in response, but Pyongyang has continued to carry out missile launches, with the most recent one last week.
The continued sabre-rattling by the North prompted Washington and Seoul to agree earlier this month to deploy a sophisticated anti-missile system in South Korea.
The festering issue has been a major theme of the talks in Vientiane, which are being attended by Southeast Asian nations as well as key regional players, including China, the US, Russia, Japan and South Korea.
North Korea’s new foreign minister and former nuclear negotiator Ri Yong-ho is also attending the meeting hosted by the 10-member ASEAN.
The annual gathering is one of the rare moments in the diplomatic calendar when all members of the stalled six-party talks aimed at ending North Korea’s nuclear program are in the same room. –
John Kerry (right) attends the East Asia Foreign Ministers Meeting at the ASEAN annual ministerial meeting in Vientiane on July 26.