Lead­ers back full en­force­ment of sanc­tions

Bangkok Post - - ASIA - KY­ODO

MANILA: East Asian lead­ers met in Manila yes­ter­day to con­demn North Korea’s nu­clear weapons de­vel­op­ment and urge all coun­tries to fully im­ple­ment UN sanc­tions against Py­ongyang.

US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump, who was to de­but at the East Asia Sum­mit (EAS), skipped the meet­ing, ap­par­ently due to a delay in pro­ceed­ings. He headed to the United States around the time the 18-na­tion sum­mit started, about 100 min­utes be­hind sched­ule.

North Korea’s “on­go­ing de­vel­op­ment of weapons of mass de­struc­tion, in­clud­ing nu­clear and chem­i­cal weapons, and bal­lis­tic mis­sile tech­nolo­gies” in vi­o­la­tion of UN Se­cu­rity Coun­cil res­o­lu­tions, will be con­demned in the state­ment. “We strongly urged the DPRK to im­me­di­ately and fully com­ply with all rel­e­vant ... res­o­lu­tions and un­der­lined that all EAS mem­bers are com­mit­ted to full and thor­ough im­ple­men­ta­tion of res­o­lu­tions on North Korea and urged all States to do the same.”

UN Se­cu­rity Coun­cil res­o­lu­tions ban im­ports of coal, tex­tiles and seafood from North Korea, as well as lim­it­ing ex­ports of crude oil and pe­tro­leum prod­ucts to the coun­try.

The par­tic­i­pants in the 18-na­tion sum­mit, in­clud­ing Ja­panese Prime Min­is­ter Shinzo Abe, Chi­nese Pre­mier Li Ke­qiang and US Sec­re­tary of State Rex Tiller­son in lieu of Mr Trump, will de­mand that Py­ongyang “aban­don its nu­clear and bal­lis­tic mis­sile pro­grammes in a com­plete, ver­i­fi­able and ir­re­versible man­ner”, a draft of the state­ment says.

At the sum­mit, Mr Abe and Mr Tiller­son are ex­pected to call for ap­ply­ing “max­i­mum pres­sure” on North Korea in con­cert with the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity to com­pel it to stop nu­clear and bal­lis­tic mis­sile tests and en­gage in cred­i­ble talks for its de­nu­cle­ari­sa­tion.

The 18 lead­ers will also urge North Korea to ad­dress “hu­man­i­tar­ian con­cerns of the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity, in­clud­ing the ab­duc­tions is­sue”, the draft says, in ref­er­ence to North Korean agents’ kid­nap­ping of Ja­panese na­tion­als in the 1970s and 1980s.

While Ja­pan and the US are ex­pected to push China to do more in rein­ing in North Korea, Mr Li is likely to call on Wash­ing­ton and other in­volved par­ties to re­solve the North Korean nu­clear is­sue peace­fully through di­a­logue and ne­go­ti­a­tion.

China, which ac­counts for about 90% of North Korea’s to­tal trade and is a ma­jor sup­plier of oil to the coun­try, op­poses Py­ongyang’s nu­clear weapons de­vel­op­ment pro­gramme but fears strong eco­nomic pres­sure could trig­ger a regime col­lapse, re­sult­ing in the loss of a strate­gic buf­fer zone be­tween it­self and South Korea, where the US main­tains a large mil­i­tary pres­ence.

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