Korea, US, Japan discuss security coordination after Sweden talks

10-Oct-2019 Intellasia | KoreaTimes | 6:02 AM Print This Post

Korea, the US and Japan began to coordinate their response to the unsuccessful US-North Korea talks in Sweden last Saturday, amid rising concern about weakened cooperation among the US and its two closest Asian allies following Seoul’s decision not to renew a military intelligence-sharing pact with Japan.

The US State Department confirmed in a statement released October 8 that representatives from the three countries met in Washington D.C., Wednesday (KST) in addition to bilateral meetings to discuss how to proceed after the no-deal talks in Stockholm. The failure of the talks in the Swedish capital has cast doubt on the prospects for a third summit between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un within the year to advance denuclearisation negotiations.

“Special Representative for North Korea Stephen Biegun met with his Republic of Korea and Japanese counterparts, ROK Special Representative for Korean Peninsula Peace and Security Ambassador Lee Do-hoon and Japanese director general for Asian and Oceanian Affairs Shigeki Takisaki, October 8, in Washington, for US-ROK and US-Japan bilateral meetings, as well as a trilateral US-ROK-Japan meeting,” according to a statement released by the State Department. Biegun, Lee, and Takisaki reaffirmed the importance of continued close bilateral and trilateral coordination on North Korea to achieve its complete nuclear disarmament, the statement said.

In a meeting with reporters there, Lee said: “Both sides [Seoul and Washington] discussed measures to continue keeping the momentum for dialogue between Washington and Pyongyang alive.” He declined to comment over whether the North will return to the talks with the US in two weeks as proposed by Sweden and accepted by the US

Lee also met with David R. Stilwell, the US assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, to exchange opinions on the North’s nuclear and missile threats, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs here.

Meanwhile, European members of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) issued a warning to North Korea for its recent submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) test. Six European envoys issued a joint statement Wednesday calling it a “clear violation of UN resolutions.”

The condemnation came after UN ambassadors from Germany, France, the United Kingdom, Poland and Estonia, held a closed-door meeting to denounce the North’s launch of the SLBM.

They urged the UNSC and the international community to continue enforcing tough sanctions against Pyongyang until it ends not just its missile and nuclear programmes, but all projects related to weapons of mass destruction.

“International sanctions must remain in place and be fully and strictly enforced,” France’s Ambassador to the UN Nicolas de Riviere said on behalf of the envoys.

“The decisions of the Security Council are clear: North Korea is under the obligation to abandon its programmes for the development of weapons of mass destruction and of ballistic missiles in a complete, verifiable and irreversible manner,” he said.

The North’s October 3 launch of the SLBM was widely seen as a big potential security threat to the international community. Unlike land-based ballistic missiles, SLBMs are harder to detect and designed to carry nuclear warheads.

The test came only a couple of days before the North resumed the disarmament talks with the US, and was seen by some experts as a negotiating tactic by Pyongyang to increase its leverage in that and future dialogue.

The working-level talks broke down, however, with both sides failing to narrow their differences on the details to their approach to nuclear disarmament on the Korean Peninsula.

“We urge North Korea to engage in good faith in meaningful negotiations with the US,” the French envoy to the UN said, adding that scrapping such weapons programmes for good was the only way to bring security and stability to the Korean Peninsula.

Any missiles launches by the North using ballistic missile technology is in violation of the UNSC Resolution 1874, adopted in 2009.

In response, Pyongyang stepped up its criticism of the UN for holding the closed-door meeting.

North Korean Ambassador to the UN Kim Song said: “The countries should be aware that it is a very risky act to take issue with the North’s self-defensive measures at the UNSC.”

Kim went on to say that the US was standing behind the “impure movement” by the European countries.

“This will only stimulate our desire for self-defense,” he said.

It remains unknown when Washington and Pyongyang will restart their talks on denuclearisation of the peninsula after the failure in Sweden.



Category: Korea

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