N. Korea rejects talk with S. Korea, remains firmly against U.S., allies at Manila meeting

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By William Casis | FilAm Star Correspondent

North Korea on August 7 said it has no plan to use its nuclear weapons or threaten with nuclear weapons any other country except the United States, unless it joins the military action of the US against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK),” said Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho in a statement released to reporters in Manila.

“The harder the US tries to get other countries to join in implementing the sanctions against the DPRK, the more it will reveal only the warranted and unfair points of the ‘sanctions resolutions’ of the UN Security Council against the DPRK,” the statement continued.

Ri attended the Manila meetings of the Asean Regional Forum, of which it is a member.

Aside from the 10 Association of Southeast Asian Nations countries, the other countries that participated in the forum were Australia, Bangladesh, Canada, the European Union, India, Japan, Mongolia, New Zealand, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Republic of Korea, Russia, Sri Lanka, Timor-Leste, and the United States.

Before the Asean Regional Forum meetings, Ri and South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-Wha shook hands in their brief encounter at a gala dinner last August 6.

South Korea’s Yonhap news agency said Kang urged Ri to accept Seoul’s offers of military talks to lower tensions on the divided peninsula, and to discuss a new round of reunions for divided families.

Ri retorted, “Given the current situation in which the South collaborates with the US to heap pressure on the North, such proposals lacked sincerity.”

The Japanese Foreign Minister on Sunday agreed with the US that “effective pressure” should be applied by the ASEAN against North Korea.

“Now is not the time for dialogue but a time to increase pressure on North Korea so they will take concrete actions toward de-nuclearization,” Toshihide Ando, deputy press secretary of the Japanese Ministry on Foreign Affairs said.

ASEAN earlier manifested “grave concern” over escalating tension in the Korean peninsula due to Pyongyang’s missile tests, which have been condemned by the United States and other countries.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Monday dismissed a quick return to dialogue with North Korea, as he said new UN sanctions showed the world has run out of patience with Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons ambitions.

In an interview, he told reporters in Manila that Washington would only consider talks if Pyongyang halted its ballistic missile program, something the North has insisted it has no intention of doing.

He noted that the best signal North Korea could send that they’re prepared to talk would be to stop missile launches.

However, he said it is also likely that US envoys at some point would be sitting down with Pyongyang’s isolated regime to avoid the escalating threat of war.

Tillerson’s remarks followed a rare exchange on Sunday between the foreign ministers of the two Koreans in which Ri showed no signs his nation had been intimidated by the latest rounds of sanctions.

Tillerson, who held separate talks in Manila with foreign ministers Wang Yi of China and Sergei Lavrov of Russia, also sought to emphasize a united stance against the North.

“It’s quite clear in terms of there being no daylight between the international community as to the expectation that North Korea will take steps to achieve all of my objectives, which is a de-nuclearized Korean peninsula,” he said.

Tillerson met with Wang and Lavrov as part of an annual gathering of top envoys of 26 Asia-Pacific nations plus the European Union for talks on regional security known as the ASEAN Regional Forum.

In an effort to halt North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un’s drive to become a nuclear power, the UN Security Council on Saturday unanimously approved a US-drafted sanctions package against his nation that could cost it $1 billion a year.

The sanctions were in response to the North conducting two intercontinental ballistic missile tests last month that Kim boasted showed he could strike any part of the United States.

US President Donald Trump and his South Korean counterpart, Moon Jae-In, spoke on the phone on Sunday and agreed the North “poses a grave and growing direct threat” to most countries around the world, according to a White House statement.

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