Sanctions not aimed to 'bring down' N. Korea

GENEVA • Sanctions on North Korea aim to pressure it to abandon its nuclear ambitions, not "bring down" the country, South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung Wha told the United Nations Conference on Disarmament on Tuesday.

But North Korea's envoy, addressing the same gathering, dismissed the sanctions as ineffective and said plans by Seoul and Washington to resume joint military exercises would harm "the current positive process of improved inter-Korean relations".

"Sanctions are not an end in themselves and not meant to bring down North Korea, but to make it understand that its future lies not in nuclear weapons but in working with the global community towards denuclearisation," Ms Kang told the Geneva forum.

North Korean ambassador Han Tae Song accused the United States of engaging in "dangerous moves" that threatened inter-Korean relations that have improved since the Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

"The US should be aware that sanctions and pressure will never threaten DPRK and never work," Mr Han said, using the acronym for the country's official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

Mr Han urged the Trump administration to "stop all provocations that escalate tensions, including deployment of nuclear assets around the Korean peninsula", as well as the joint military exercises that he said undermined regional peace and security.

North Korean ambassador Han Tae Song accused the United States of engaging in "dangerous moves" that threatened inter-Korean relations that have improved since the Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

US disarmament ambassador Robert Wood told the forum that Washington would never recognise North Korea as a nuclear weapon state. "So it needs to stop this demand. It will not happen," he said.

Instead, North Korea must respond to the demands of the international community for it to halt its banned weapons programmes, he added.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 01, 2018, with the headline 'Sanctions not aimed to 'bring down' N. Korea'. Print Edition | Subscribe