EU ‘talks tough’ on North Korea’s nuclear weapons
North Korea must make “serious moves” towards giving up its nuclear weapons programme before talks can take place with Kim Jong-un’s regime, Boris Johnson has said.
The foreign secretary and European Union counterparts agreed a statement strongly condemning Pyongyang’s nuclear and ballistic missile testing programme as a “serious threat to international peace and security”.
Mr Johnson hinted at splits within the EU over how to deal with the North Korean regime, with some countries keen to engage with Pyongyang before meaningful steps are taken to end its weapons programmes.
At the conclusion of a meeting in Brussels, Mr Johnson said the EU’s Foreign Affairs Council had agreed “some tough words” on North Korea.
He said: “There are some people who think we should engage early with Pyongyang. We absolutely disagree with that.
“They have got to make serious moves towards denuclearising their country before it is right for us to begin a proper dialogue, and I’m glad the council conclusions reflected that.”
The council’s statement reaffirmed the EU’s policy of “critical engagement” with Pyongyang, using sanctions and other measures while “keeping communication and dialogue channels open”.
That process was a way to push for North Korea’s compliance with United Nations resolutions “in terms of abandoning its nuclear, WMD (weapons of mass destruction) and ballistic missile programmes in a complete, verifiable and irreversible manner and progress on all other issues of concern”.
Foreign secretary Boris Johnson and Bulgarian foreign minister Ekaterina Zaharieva at the meeting of the EU Foreign Affairs Council in Brussels.