UNITED NATIONS, Jul 20 (APP):U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Friday that the U.N. Security Council is united in seeking a final, verified denuclearization of North Korea and that fully enforcing economic sanctions is key to eliminating nuclear weapons from the east Asian country.
Speaking to reporters after briefing the 15-member Council , Pompeo said that President Donald Trump “remains upbeat about the prospects for denuclearization” following his historic summit in Singapore with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. “So do I, as progress is happening,” Pompeo added.
“The countries of the security council are united on the need for final, fully verified denuclearization of North Korea as agreed to by Chairman Kim,” Pompeo said. “Strict enforcement of sanctions is critical to achieving this goal.”
But he warned that “when sanctions are not enforced, the prospects for the successful denuclearization of North Korea are diminished.”
Right now, Pompeo said, North Korea is “illegally smuggling” refined petroleum products into the country beyond the quota of 500,000 barrels per year allowed under U.N. sanctions, mainly by ship-to-ship transfers. U.S. documents sent to the sanctions committee cite 89 instances between Jan. 1 and May 30 in which North Korean tankers likely delivered refined products “illicitly procured” via such transfers.
North Korea is also evading sanctions by smuggling coal by sea, across borders, through cyber thefts and other criminal activities, and by keeping workers in some countries which he didn’t name, Pompeo said.
These actions are all “generating significant revenues for the regime and they must be stopped,” he said.
U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley criticized Russia and China for blocking the Security Council committee monitoring sanctions against Pyongyang from urging all countries to halt shipments of petroleum products to North Korea. Moscow and Beijing said they needed additional time to investigate the U.S. allegations, and put a six-month “hold” on the U.S. request.
The Netherlands’ U.N. Ambassador Karel Van Oosterom said the Security Council made clear to Pompeo during the briefing that it wants to see “concrete actions and deeds” from North Korea to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula.
Van Oosterom, who chairs the sanctions committee, told reporters that “I think for all of us it’s clear that the progress is in the talks so far, that the engagement is there and the discussions are taking place.”
“But we’re waiting for concrete actions and deeds on the ground,â€ he said after Pompeo and South Korea’s Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha briefed the council behind closed doors at South Korea’s U.N. Mission.
Kang stressed to reporters before the briefing that North Koreans made ‘a clear commitment on complete denuclearization repeatedly and, of course, very forcefully at the Singapore summit with President Trump, and we will hold them up to that commitment.”
Van Oosterom said Pompeo and Kang delivered “a very clear message” at the briefing “that the political message to achieve complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula continues.”
He said a second message they delivered was that “to achieve that, full implementation of the sanctions is absolutely crucial.”