US calls for new sanctions against North Korea

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US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has urged new sanctions against North Korea at a UN gathering.

He told the UN Security Council that failing to act against the North’s weapons programs would be “catastrophic.”

Tillerson saidfor years North Korea has dictated terms of its “dangerous course of action and it's time for us to retake control of the situation”.

Tillerson said the world community needs to increase North Korea’s financial isolation. He called for new sanctions against North Korean entities and individuals supporting its nuclear and missile programs, and tighter implementation of sanctions already in place.

He said the US would not hesitate to sanction other countries that support the North’s illegal activities. He said he looked forward to further action from China, North Korea’s main trading partner.

Tillerson also urged nations to downgrade diplomatic relations with Pyongyang.

He said, “failing to act now on the most pressing security issue in the world may bring catastrophic consequences.”

Beijing refuses to conform

China’s foreign ministry has refused to confirm or deny Tillerson’s assertion that Beijing has threatened to impose unilateral sanctions on North Korea if it conducts further nuclear tests.

China’s foreign minister says the situation on the Korean peninsula “is under great tension and at a critical point.”

Wang Yi said the international community must stay committed to parallel progress on denuclearization of the Korean peninsula and upholding peace and stability.

He told reporters ahead of a UN Security Council ministerial meeting on North Korea on Friday that “what is crucial today is to resume the talks,” even if few players are involved initially.

The ultimate goal, he added, would be to resume multilateral discussions known as the six-party talks.

He also reiterated China’s proposal that North Korea halt nuclear and missile tests in exchange for the U.S. and South Korea stopping military exercises.

He called it “sensible and reasonable” and said the proposal is gaining support from many countries.

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