US secretary of state Rex Tillerson and members of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) will discuss how to stop North Korea from carrying out nuclear and ballistic missile tests at a meeting today.
North Korea’s ambassador to the UN, Ja Song Nam, is expected to attend the meeting chaired by Japan’s foreign minister Taro Kono.
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It is rare for North Korea to send any representative to the council’s sessions.
UN secretary-general António Guterres said yesterday that today’s meeting has a clear objective:
The objective is the denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula, and it is extremely important to preserve the unity of the Security Council. Unity of the Security Council — that is a very important tool to achieve this goal but also to allow for diplomatic engagement that might allow this goal to be achieved in a peaceful manner.
Yesterday Russian president Vladimir Putin warned the US against further aggravating Kim Jong-un and North Korea. Speaking at his annual end-of-year press conference to some 1,600 Russian and foreign journalists in Moscow, Putin said he hopes to work alongside Washington in resolving the situation in North Korea.
Earlier this week, Tillerson said he was ready to open dialogue with Pyongyang, without preconditions.
Speaking at a policy forum in Washington DC on Tuesday, he told the audience:
We’ve said from the diplomatic side we’re ready to talk any time North Korea, would like to talk, and we’re ready to have the first meeting without precondition. Let’s just meet and let’s talk about the weather if you want and talk about whether it’s going to be a square table or a round table if that’s what you’re excited about.
Ahead of the UNSC meeting, Japan imposed fresh sanctions against North Korea earlier this week.
Japan said it is facing a “pressing threat unseen before” after North Korea fired an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) across its territory in September.
Japan’s chief cabinet secretary Yoshihide Suga said:
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North Korea launched an ICBM ballistic missile that landed in our exclusive economic zone and continues to repeat provocative commentaries.
Freezing more assets in North Korea will “further increase pressure” on Pyongyang, he added.