Korean Peninsula A to Z


US Seeks to Solidify United Front against N. Korean Threats

Hot Issues of the Week2019-12-22


On North Korea, Kellyanne, can you comment on this proposal by China and Russia to ease UN sanctions on North Korea?

"Well we’re not easing U.S. sanctions on North Korea, I can tell you that."

Trump White House counselor Kellyanne Conway says sanctions relief is not an option.

"The president’s keeping sanctions in place and we need to see full and verifiable and irreversible denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. The president has made that very clear and if it’s not there the sanctions will remain."

Speaking to reporters at the White House on Tuesday, Conway addressed growing calls from China and Russia, regurgitating President Donald Trump's focus on sanctions.


But as U.S. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper told reporters earlier this week, North Korea could resume testing intercontinental ballistic missiles unless sanctions are lifted, signaling in dramatic fashion the death of agreements made with the U.S.


"It is a concern, their rhetoric. We have seen talk of tests. I think that they will be likely if they don't feel satisfied...”

North Korea’s Korean War allies Beijing and Moscow have circulated a draft resolution at the UN Security Council to partly lift sanctions on Pyongyang. Reuters said the draft calls for allowing North Korean workers to keep their jobs abroad as well as exempting inter-Korean rail and road projects from UN sanctions.


Despite the initial rejection, Beijing is expected to bring up the sanctions issue again when U.S. Special Representative for North Korea Stephen Biegun visits China from Thursday.

Pyongyang has been threatening to reverse its vague agreements for denuclearization unless Washington softens its terms for a deal by the end of this month. With that deadline fast approaching, North Korea has publicized its recent resumption of tests at a key satellite launch facility on the country’s western coast.

Before heading back to Washington on Friday after his week long trip to Asia, Stephen Biegun, who was named the new Deputy Secretary of State, met with a Chinese foreign minister.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry said in a statement that Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Luo Zhaohui and the U.S. special envoy met in the Chinese capital on Thursday.

The statement, which was posted on the ministry's website, said that China hopes the United States and North Korea will resume dialogue, build mutual trust and work to resolve disagreements as soon as possible amid renewed tensions between Washington and Pyongyang.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry added that Luo and Biegun exchanged opinions on achieving denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula based on the principle of step-by-step and simultaneous action. The two sides reportedly agreed to continue communication on the matter.

Earlier in the week, Biegun, who had been visiting Seoul for three days, had openly proposed a meeting with Pyongyang, but is believed to have reeived no answer from North Korea.

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