Friday 23 February 2018

'Very big financial impact!' - Donald Trump applauds new UN sanctions on North Korea

Donald Trump
Donald Trump

Catherine Lucey

President Donald Trump has praised new sanctions the UN Security Council approved for North Korea, saying they will have a "very big financial impact".

The Security Council unanimously approved the sanctions on North Korea, including banning coal and other exports worth over $1bn US dollars.

The US-drafted measure, negotiated with North Korea's neighbour and ally China, is aimed at increasing economic pressure on Pyongyang to return to negotiations on its nuclear and missile programmes.

Mr Trump wrote on Twitter: "The United Nations Security Council just voted 15-0 to sanction North Korea. China and Russia voted with us. Very big financial impact!"

His national security adviser, HR McMaster, had said earlier that it is "impossible to overstate the danger" posed by North Korea.

In an interview with MSNBC's Hugh Hewitt that aired on Saturday, Mr McMaster said Mr Trump has been "deeply briefed" on the strategy on North Korea.

Tensions have mounted with Pyongyang's two recent successful tests of intercontinental ballistic missiles.

Mr McMaster reiterated the Trump administration's position that all options, including a targeted military strike, are on the table.

Still, he acknowledged this "would be a very costly war, in terms of -in terms of the suffering of mainly the South Korean people".

He continued: "So what we have to do is - is everything we can to - to pressure this regime, to pressure Kim Jong Un and those around him such that they conclude it is in their interest to denuclearise."

The comments came as US secretary of state Rex Tillerson was in the Philippines for a regional summit expected to focus heavily on concerns with North Korea.

Mr Tillerson has no plans to sit down with North Korean foreign minister Ri Yong Ho at the event.

His reluctance to sit down with his North Korean counterpart is despite his growing push for Pyongyang to return to the negotiating table with the US.

Mr Tillerson said this week that such talks would have to be predicated on the North giving up its nuclear weapons aspirations and that those conditions have not yet been met by North Korea's government.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said he has urged his North Korean counterpart to abide by UN resolutions and stop provoking "the international community's good will" with missile launches and nuclear tests.

Mr Wang spoke to reporters in Manila after meeting with North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho on the sidelines of a regional meeting after the UN Security Council unanimously approved tough new sanctions.

Mr Wang said the two had an intensive conversation during which China urged North Korea to maintain calm. He says he told Mr Ri "do not violate the UN decision or provoke the international community's good will by conducting missile launches or nuclear tests".

Mr Wang also urged the US and South Korea "to stop increasing tensions" and said that all sides should return to negotiations.

Press Association

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