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China, Russia should play ‘constructive role’ on N. Korean nukes: U.S. ambassador

 UPI News logo: MainLogo UPI News 12/1/2022 Thomas Maresca
U.S. Ambassador to South Korea Philip Goldberg said Thursday the Russia and China should exert pressure on North Korea to return to the negotiating table. Photo by Thomas Maresca/UPI © Thomas Maresca/UPI U.S. Ambassador to South Korea Philip Goldberg said Thursday the Russia and China should exert pressure on North Korea to return to the negotiating table. Photo by Thomas Maresca/UPI

SEOUL, Dec. 1 (UPI) -- China and Russia should exert pressure on North Korea to dismantle its nuclear arsenal and return to the negotiating table, the U.S. ambassador to South Korea said Thursday.

Beijing and Moscow have stood in the way of U.S.-led efforts at the U.N. Security Council to impose new sanctions and officially condemn North Korea over its spate of ballistic missile tests.

"We hope that China plays a constructive role ... on North Korea," Ambassador Philip Goldberg said at a briefing with international media in downtown Seoul. "We believe it's in all our interests to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula."

"That is what we have worked toward for many years -- for a responsible North Korea that is negotiating about denuclearization and peace and security on the Korean Peninsula," Goldberg said. "And we very much believe that that's in China's interest just as it's in our interest."

North Korea has launched a record number of missiles this year, including an ICBM last month that landed roughly 130 miles off the coast of Japan and was estimated to have the range to reach the entire United States.

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield last week accused Russia and China of "enabling and emboldening" Pyongyang by blocking motions to exert additional pressure on the recalcitrant regime.

The U.N. Security Council imposed sanctions on North Korea after its first nuclear test in 2006 and has added to them in the years since, including several new rounds in 2017 amid a flurry of missile and nuclear tests.

Beijing and Moscow signed onto all measures until May of this year when both vetoed a resolution for new sanctions for the first time. U.N. envoys from the two countries have suggested that joint military exercises held by the United States and South Korea are provoking the North into conducting its weapons tests.

"China, as well as the United States and Russia all passed resolutions at the United Nations on missile and nuclear developments in North Korea, and we all ought to follow the rules-based solution to get into negotiations and denculearization," Goldberg said Thursday. "We all signed up to it."

"What we would like to see is for Russia to play a constructive role also in pressuring and in talking to the North Koreans," he added.

At a forum held in Seoul earlier on Thursday, U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said that the United States was working on new sanctions in an effort to bring North Korea back to the negotiating table.

"We have a new set of sanctions measures coming forward as we speak," Sullivan told the conference, hosted by U.S. think tank Center for Strategic and International Studies and South Korea's JoongAng Group. He did not provide further information on the scope or targets of the sanctions.

Officials in Seoul and Washington have assessed that North Korea has completed preparations for a nuclear weapon test, which would be its first since 2017 and seventh overall.

 

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