Nations at North Korea meeting commit to considering more sanctions

VANCOUVER, (Reuters) – A 20-nation meeting on North Korea agreed yesterday to consider imposing unilateral sanctions on Pyongyang that go beyond those required by U.N. Security Council resolutions, the United States and Canada said in a joint statement.

The meeting, to discuss North Korea’s nuclear weapons program, also agreed to support dialogue between the two Koreas “in hopes that it leads to sustained easing of tensions”, the statement added.

The United States and Canada co-hosted the day-long meeting in Vancouver to discuss ways of forcing North Korea to give up its nuclear arms.

The statement said participants “agree to consider and take steps to impose unilateral sanctions and further diplomatic actions that go beyond those required by U.N. Security Council resolutions”. It gave no details.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has refused to give up development of nuclear missiles capable of hitting the United States in spite of increasingly severe U.N. sanctions, raising fears of a new war on the Korean peninsula.

The Vancouver meeting also committed to ensuring that sanctions already in place were fully implemented.

Earlier on Tuesday, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said all countries needed to work together to improve interdiction of ships attempting to skirt the sanctions and said there must be “new consequences” for North Korea “whenever new aggression occurs.”

North and South Korea held formal talks for the first time in two years this month and Pyongyang said it would send athletes to the Olympics.

South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha said in Vancouver she hoped the dialogue would continue well beyond the Olympics, but stressed that existing sanctions must be applied more rigorously.

“These two tools – tough sanctions and pressure on the one hand, and the offer of a different, brighter future on the other – (have) worked hand in hand,” she said.

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