US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Tuesday met with his Japanese and South Korean counterparts to discuss stalled nuclear talks with North Korea, and to stress the importance of the US’ relationship with both countries.
The meeting in California came as the US Department of the Treasury announced new sanctions on North Korea for failing to comply with a UN requirement to repatriate guest workers that provide the nation with needed foreign currency.
Pompeo’s discussions with Japanese Minister of Foreign Affairs Toshimitsu Motegi and South Korean Minister of Foreign Affairs Kang Kyung-wha in Palo Alto, California, also came as the administration of US President Donald Trump continues to send signals to Pyongyang that it is willing to resume talks on dismantling North Korea’s nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs.
In a three-way meeting, Pompeo, Kang and Motegi spoke of the importance of their alliances “to security and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region and the world,” the US Department of State said. “They also stressed that trilateral cooperation is essential to ensure the future of peace in the region.”
Trump and his national security aides have repeatedly said that they would like to return to the negotiating table with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, who has shunned talks with the US since a failed attempt to restart talks in Sweden in October last year.
As Pompeo held his talks, the treasury department announced that it had imposed sanctions on North Korea’s Namgang Trading Corp and China-based North Korean lodging facility Beijing Sukbakso, which continue to provide North Korean labor abroad in a breach of UN Security Council sanctions.
“The exportation of North Korean workers raises illicit revenue for the government of North Korea in violation of UN sanctions,” US Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin said in a statement.
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