NATO leaders urge continuation of 'decisive pressure' on North Korea

Reuters , Wednesday 11 Jul 2018

Heads of the states pose for a group photo in the park of the Cinquantenaire, during a NATO Summit, in central Brussels, Belgium July 11, 2018 (Photo: Reuters)

NATO leaders on Wednesday called on all nations to maintain "decisive pressure" on North Korea, including by fully implementing United Nations sanctions, to persuade it to give up it nuclear, chemical and biological weapons.

The allies also expressed concern about Iran's intensified missile tests and said the alliance was committed "to permanently ensuring that Iran’s nuclear programme remains peaceful".

The summit declaration signed by the 29 NATO leaders reiterated the alliance's full support for the goal of "complete verifiable and irreversible denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula."

It welcomed recent talks with North Korea by the leaders of South Korea and the United States "as a contribution towards reaching the final fully verified denuclearisation of (North Korea) in a peaceful manner".

"We call upon (North Korea) to fully implement its international obligations; to eliminate its nuclear, chemical, and biological warfare capabilities and ballistic missiles, and abandon all related `programmes," the statement said.

It also called on North Korea to return to the Treaty on Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons and to accede to the Chemical Weapons Convention.

"We call on all nations to maintain decisive pressure on (North Korea), including by fully implementing existing U.N. sanctions," the statement said.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un pledged at an unprecedented June 12 summit in Singapore with U.S. President Donald Trump to move toward denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula, but has yet to provide details of how or when he might dismantle a weapons programme Trump has vowed will not be allowed to threaten the United States.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who was in Brussels with Trump, held talks in North Korea last week aimed at agreeing a denuclearisation roadmap.

On Sunday, he brushed off North Korean charges that he used "gangster-like" diplomacy in the negotiations and vowed that he would keep pursuing denuclearisation talks with Pyongyang.

Pompeo also said sanctions would remain in place until "a final fully verified denuclearisation" that he said Kim had agreed to occurred.

Trump suggested on Monday that China, North Korea's neighbour and main trading partner, might be seeking to derail U.S. efforts aimed at denuclearising North Korea, but said he was confident that Kim Jong Un would uphold the pact the two agreed in Singapore. 

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