U.S. vows to keep sanctions on N. Korea until denuclearization


The United States vowed Tuesday to keep sanctions on North Korea short of the complete dismantlement of its nuclear weapons program. The State Department made the affirmation amid questions about President Donald Trump’s commitment to sanctions after his withdrawal of additional punitive measures against North Korea last week.


“The point here is that our position hasn’t changed in the least in that the international community will continue to implement the United Nations Security Council resolutions to underscore to North Korea that the only way to achieve the security and development that it seeks is to forsake its weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery,” department deputy spokesperson Robert Palladino said at a press briefing. “That remains our policy, and that remains what we are pursuing.”


The U.N. resolutions impose serious limitations on North Korea’s external trade in a bid to starve the regime of resources to develop its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile program. At last month’s summit in Vietnam, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un reportedly asked Trump to remove a large portion of the sanctions in exchange for the dismantlement of the country’s main nuclear facility in Yongbyon. Trump refused, and the meeting ended without a deal. “The pressure campaign is what has been instrumental in creating a diplomatic opening, and the president has made clear throughout the process that that will continue until denuclearization is complete,” Palladino said.


Asked about this week’s visit to Beijing by U.S. Special Representative for North Korea Stephen Biegun, the spokesperson said it was part of regular consultations with China and other nations. “And our goal remains the same,” he said. “That’s the final, fully verified denuclearization of North Korea. That hasn’t changed. That’s something that we continue to pursue with China and other partners, as well as our allies.”


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