Mon, Sep 11, 2017 - Page 5 News List

I could broker an N Korea deal: Merkel

EXPECTING VICTORY:The German chancellor spoke to the Chinese and Japanese presidents last week and was to call Vladimir Putin today ahead of Sept. 24 elections

Reuters, BERLIN

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Baden-Wuerttemberg Christian Democratic Union leader Thomas Strobl wave to supporters during a CDU congress in Reutlingen, Germany, on Saturday

Photo: AFP

German Chancellor Angela Merkel told a newspaper she would be prepared to become involved in a diplomatic initiative to end the North Korean nuclear and missiles programme, suggesting the Iran nuclear talks could be a model for such a process.

South Korea on Saturday braced for a possible additional missile test by North Korea, as it marked its founding anniversary, just days after its sixth and largest nuclear test rattled global financial markets and further escalated tensions in the region.

“If our participation in talks is desired, I will immediately say yes,” Merkel told the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung in an interview published yesterday.

She pointed to the negotiations that led to a landmark nuclear agreement between Iran and world powers in 2015.

Back then, Germany and the five countries on the UN Security Council with veto power took part in talks that led to Iran agreeing to curb its nuclear work in return for the lifting of most sanctions.

Merkel said that was “a long but important time of diplomacy” that ultimately came to a “good end” last year, referring to when the deal was implemented.

“I could imagine such a format being used to end the North Korea conflict,” Merkel added. “Europe and especially Germany should be prepared to play a very active part in that.”

She said she thought the only way to deal with North Korea’s nuclear program was to come to a diplomatic solution.

“A new arms race starting in the region would not be in anyone’s interests,” Merkel said.

Europe should stand united in trying to bring about a diplomatic solution and “do everything that can be done in terms of sanctions,” she said.

Merkel is expected to win a fourth term in office after the Sept. 24 parliamentary elections, with polls giving her Christian Democrat Union a double-digit lead over the Social Democrat Party.

Merkel is widely seen in Germany as a safe pair of hands at a time of global uncertainties, such as the escalation of the North Korean crisis, Britain’s looming departure from the EU and US President Donald Trump’s administration.

Merkel has spoken to leaders including Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe about North Korea this week.

Without naming its sources, the newspaper said that Merkel was expected to speak by telephone with Russian President Vladimir Putin today.

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