SEOUL (Reuters) — The nuclear envoys of South Korea, the United States and Japan condemned North Korea for its recent missile tests, arms trade with Russia and increasingly hostile rhetoric at a meeting in Seoul on Thursday.
Pyongyang’s transfer of short-range ballistic missiles and other weapons to Russia for use against Ukraine, and human rights violations against North Koreans, demand attention and coordinated action, Jung Pak, U.S. senior official for North Korea, said in an opening statement.
“The United States is also deeply concerned by the recent uptick in hostile rhetoric particularly toward the Republic of Korea from the DPRK (North Korean) regime,” Pak said.
The three countries have increased joint efforts to deter North Korea in recent years including trilateral meetings and launching a missile warning data sharing system in December.
The meeting comes days after North Korean leader Kim Jong Un called for his country’s constitution to be changed to ensure that South Korea was seen as the “primary foe,” saying Pyongyang did not intend to avoid war should it happen.
South Korea on Wednesday announced sanctions on two individuals, three entities and 11 ships linked to North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs, days after North Korea fired a new intermediate-range, solid-fuel hypersonic missile.
Kim Gunn, Seoul’s Special Representative for Korean Peninsula Peace and Security Affairs, said North Korea would only hurt itself with its “closed-door policy” of shutting agencies handling inter-Korean exchanges and blaming South Korea and the U.S. for rising tensions.
Japan’s envoy, Hiroyuki Namazu, condemned Pyongyang’s ballistic missile launch and said there must be close monitoring of what Russia might be providing to North Korea in return for armaments.
Source: Nikkei Asia