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Foreign Ministers to Discuss North Korea at UN

  • Margaret Besheer

A man stands in front of a huge screen showing TV news program reporting North Korea's missile launch, in Tokyo, Nov. 29, 2017.

Japan's foreign minister is to preside over a meeting of the U.N. Security Council on December 15, to discuss North Korea's nuclear program, his nation's U.N. ambassador said Friday.

"This is definitely a very, very strong threat to the security and safety of Japan," Ambassador Koro Bessho told a news conference marking the beginning of Japan's month-long presidency of the Security Council.

"I think the awareness of the international community concerning this question has been heightened very much, and we are, as a council, working toward the peaceful way of putting pressure on North Korea so that they would change their policy," he told reporters.

FILE - Japanese Ambassador to the United Nations Koro Bessho speaks to reporters before Security Council consultations on the situation in North Korea, Sept. 15, 2017, at U.N. headquarters.
FILE - Japanese Ambassador to the United Nations Koro Bessho speaks to reporters before Security Council consultations on the situation in North Korea, Sept. 15, 2017, at U.N. headquarters.

He said foreign minister Taro Kono would preside over the meeting, and several other ministers have indicated that they would attend.

It was not clear if U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson would be among them. This week, media speculation resurfaced that he may soon be forced from his job, although President Donald Trump dismissed it on Twitter as "fake news."

U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley is a member of Trump's Cabinet, putting her position at minister level.

Rising threat

At an emergency meeting of the council Wednesday following Pyongyang's launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile, Haley warned that should war break out, "the North Korean regime will be utterly destroyed."

Haley also called on U.N. member states to cut ties with Pyongyang and urged a full oil embargo to cut off one of the country's most important and final lifelines.

FILE - Nikki Haley, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, speaks during a Security Council meeting on the situation in North Korea, Nov. 29, 2017 at United Nations headquarters.
FILE - Nikki Haley, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, speaks during a Security Council meeting on the situation in North Korea, Nov. 29, 2017 at United Nations headquarters.

"I am grateful for what the Security Council has been doing in the last year and a half, but we certainly need to do more," Bessho said Friday.

He said the last resolution, adopted in late September, is "very robust" and he hopes all member states will "faithfully implement" it.

That resolution imposed tough economic sanctions aimed at cutting off financial and fuel lifelines to North Korea's nuclear and ballistic missile programs. Among the measures was a one-third cut of Pyongyang's oil imports, as well as drastic reductions to the amount of gas, diesel and heavy fuel oil it could import.

Bessho said Japan is talking with its friends and partners about the best strategy to get North Korea to change its nuclear policy.

"The Security Council is just one arena that may be useful," Bessho said. "But it is a whole strategy we need to talk about."

North Korea has ramped up its nuclear and ballistic missile tests this year.

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