The United States, Japan and South Korea on Friday agreed to push for a quick UN Security Council resolution to apply new sanctions on North Korea after its test launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) this week.
Meeting at the G20 summit in Germany, US President Donald Trump, South Korean President Moon Jae-in and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe promised to apply “maximum pressure” to counter North Korea’s nuclear threat.
But the three nations might struggle to convince Russia and China, permanent members of the Security Council, to back quick sanctions on Pyongyang.
Following a nuclear weapons test by North Korea in September it took the UN Security Council three months to agree strengthened sanctions.
Taking a major step in its missile program, North Korea on Tuesday test launched an ICBM that some experts believe has the range to reach the US states of Alaska and Hawaii and perhaps the US Pacific Northwest.
The United States has cautioned it is ready to use force if need be to stop North Korea’s nuclear missile program but said it prefers global diplomatic action.
The United States, South Korea and Japan “decided to press for the early adoption of a new UNSC resolution with additional sanctions to demonstrate to (North Korea) that there are serious consequences for its destabilizing, provocative, and escalatory actions,” they said in a joint statement.
Proposed new sanctions
US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said on Wednesday she would propose new UN sanctions on North Korea. Security Council diplomats said on Friday the United States had not yet circulated a draft resolution to the 15-member council.
Russia objected on Thursday to a Security Council condemnation of North Korea’s rocket launch because the US-drafted statement labeled it an ICBM, a designation that Moscow disagrees with.
Russia’s resistance does not augur well for Washington’s planned push to impose new UN sanctions on North Korea.
China, North Korea’s only big ally and its main trading partner, has called for restraint over North Korea and made clear it does not want to be targeted by any US sanctions.
South Korea’s Moon said in Hamburg he was in favor of dialogue with North Korea despite the “nuclear provocation” of the test launch.
Putin meets Moon
Russia’s President Vladimir Putin has called calling for a careful and pragmatic approach in tackling tensions over North Korea.
Speaking pn Friday at the start of his meeting with South Korean President Moon Jae-in on the sidelines of the G-20 summit , Putin emphasized the need for a level-headed approach.
He noted that while the problem linked with Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile programs is “very acute,” it’s “important not to lose self-control and act in a pragmatic, very accurate way.”
The South Korean president emphasized that “the North Korean missile provocation has become a threat to the entire region.”
Moon added that he was pinning great hopes on Putin to persuade Pyongyang to enter a dialogue.