Moon, Trump vow stronger pres­sure against regime

Bangkok Post - - ASIA -

SEOUL: US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump and his South Korean coun­ter­part have pledged “stronger pres­sure” on Py­ongyang, Seoul said yes­ter­day, af­ter North Korea de­fied tough new sanc­tions with a mis­sile test and said it wanted to match Amer­i­can nu­clear strength.

The in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity is scram­bling to con­tain an in­creas­ingly bel­liger­ent North Korea, which in re­cent weeks has prompted global alarm by con­duct­ing its sixth and largest nu­clear test and fir­ing long-range mis­siles over Ja­pan that it says could reach the US main­land.

In a phone con­ver­sa­tion yes­ter­day, South Korean Pres­i­dent Moon Jae-in and Mr Trump “gravely con­demned” Fri­day’s mis­sile test, which came just days af­ter United Na­tions Se­cu­rity Coun­cil an­nounced a raft of new sanc­tions against Py­ongyang.

“The two lead­ers agreed on more prac­ti­cal and stronger pres­sure ... to make the North Korean regime re­alise that fur­ther provo­ca­tion will only bring stronger diplo­matic iso­la­tion and eco­nomic pres­sure lead­ing to a path of col­lapse,” the South’s pres­i­den­tial of­fice said in a state­ment.

Py­ongyang says it needs nu­clear weapons to pro­tect it­self from “hos­tile” US forces and is de­ter­mined to build a weapons sys­tem ca­pa­ble of de­liv­er­ing a nu­clear war­head to hit the US main­land.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, who over­saw the lat­est mis­sile test, has said the launch in­creased the “com­bat power of the nu­clear force”, ac­cord­ing to the North’s of­fi­cial KCNA news agency.

He said the launch was part of the coun­try’s plan to achieve “equi­lib­rium of real force” with the US.

Ex­perts be­lieve Py­ongyang’s weapons pro­gramme has made rapid progress un­der Mr Kim, with pre­vi­ous sanc­tions hav­ing done lit­tle to de­ter it.

The UN Se­cu­rity Coun­cil, which con­demned Fri­day’s launch as “highly provoca­tive”, will hold a new min­is­te­rial-level meet­ing on Thurs­day on the pro­lif­er­a­tion of weapons of mass de­struc­tion, fo­cused on en­forc­ing sanc­tions on Mr Kim’s regime, diplo­mats said.

The meet­ing will be held dur­ing the an­nual Gen­eral As­sem­bly gath­er­ing of world lead­ers at the UN.

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