Asia’s top diplomats on Saturday pressed North Korea to turn a pledge to completely dismantle its nuclear arsenal into reality amid concerns that it is proceeding with its programs.
However, North Korean Minister of Foreign Affairs Ri Yong-ho hit the US in an Asian security forum in Singapore for certain “alarming” moves, including “raising its voice louder for maintaining the sanctions against” the North.
Those moves, could make an agreement with the administration of US President Donald Trump, including the North’s commitment to work toward complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, “face difficulties,” Ri told fellow ministers.
Philippine Secretary of Foreign Affairs Alan Peter Cayetano said the rapprochement between North Korea and the US, along with completion of a negotiating draft of the code of conduct for the South China Sea, are breakthroughs.
However, “like any other breakthrough in diplomatic negotiations, they may lead to something great, they may lead to nothing,” he added.
ASEAN foreign ministers, along with counterparts from China, Japan and South Korea, urged the US and North Korea “as well as concerned parties to continue working toward the realization of lasting peace and stability on a denuclearized Korean Peninsula,” in a communique they issued after their meeting on Saturday.
They “noted” — often a diplomatic subtlety for a reminder — the “stated commitment” of North Korea “to complete denuclearization and its pledge to refrain from further nuclear and missile tests during this period.”
While North Korea has “initiated goodwill measures,” including a “moratorium on the nuclear test and rocket launch test and dismantling of nuclear test ground,” the US has gone “back to the old, far from its leader’s intention,” Ri said.
He made the remarks after US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who was at the meeting, warned Russia, China and others against any violation of international sanctions that North Korea continues to face.
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