Three European nations condemn North Korea’s missile launches

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Three important US allies on Tuesday condemned the “repeated provocative launches” of ballistic missiles by North Korea, saying they violate UN Security Council resolutions banning any such activity.

The United Kingdom, France, and Germany issued a joint statement after a closed council briefing by UN political chief Rosemary DiCarlo that they requested because of serious concerns at the series of missile launches in recent weeks by North Korea.

The three European council members urged North Korea “to engage in meaningful negotiations with the US,” as President Donald Trump and its leader Kim Jong Un agreed to on June 30 at their meeting in the Demilitarized Zone between the two Koreas.

“Serious efforts by North Korea to re-engage diplomatically and make progress on denuclearization are the only way to guarantee security and stability on the Korean peninsula and in the region,” their statement said.

The three countries stressed that “international sanctions must remain in place and be fully and strictly enforced until North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs are dismantled.”

Many diplomats and analysts credit 11 rounds of increasingly tougher UN sanctions, which have sharply cut North Korea’s exports and imports, with helping promote the thaw in relations between North Korea and South Korea, and the two summits between Trump and Kim.

But negotiations between the US and North Korea have been at a standstill since the second Trump-Kim summit in Hanoi in February broke down over what the United States described as excessive North Korean demands for sanctions relief in exchange for only a partial surrender of its nuclear capabilities.

The statement by the US allies was not joined by the United States or other members of the 15-nation Security Council - and it was at odds with US President Donald Trump’s comments downplaying the recent launches.

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