Top diplomats of S. Korea, US, Japan voice regret over foiled UNSC bid for sanctions on N. Korea

Posted on : 2022-05-30 16:48 KST Modified on : 2022-05-30 16:48 KST
The three countries’ foreign ministers released a joint statement in which they vowed to strengthen cooperation toward the full implementation of UNSC resolutions
Russia and China vetoed a proposed UNSC resolution that would have tightened sanctions on North Korea on May 26. (provided by the UN)
Russia and China vetoed a proposed UNSC resolution that would have tightened sanctions on North Korea on May 26. (provided by the UN)

The foreign ministers of South Korea, the US, and Japan issued a joint statement Saturday stating that they “deeply regret” the recent failure to adopt an additional UN Security Council resolution sanctioning North Korea and pledging to “strengthen trilateral cooperation” toward the “full implementation of relevant United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions.”

Such joint activity by Seoul, Washington, and Tokyo has become markedly more frequent since President Yoon Suk-yeol took office earlier this month.

In their joint statement, South Korean Minister of Foreign Affairs Park Jin, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, and Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi said, “In spite of 13 Security Council members’ support, we deeply regret that the UNSC failed to adopt a resolution in response to the DPRK’s blatant and repeated violations of UNSC resolutions.”

The message was a reference to the recent attempt at a UNSC meeting on May 26 to adopt an additional resolution sanctioning North Korea, which failed due to opposition by China and Russia.

At the same time, the three ministers did not make explicit mention in their statement of China and Russia, which exercised the veto powers that led to the first time in history that a North Korea sanctions resolution failed to be adopted by the UNSC.

In their joint statement, the ministers sternly condemned recent ballistic missile launches by North Korea, emphasizing the importance of stronger trilateral cooperation toward the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and full implementation of UNSC resolutions. They further underscored their “continued openness to meeting with the DPRK without preconditions.”

“These [North Korean missile] launches highlight the importance of further strengthening the U.S.-ROK and U.S.-Japan alliances to ensure peace, security, and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region,” the statement said.

“The United States reaffirms its steadfast commitments to the defense of the Republic of Korea and Japan, including extended deterrence,” it continued.

“We reaffirm our commitment to further strengthen our coordination with the international community to urge the DPRK to cease its unlawful activities and instead engage in dialogue,” it also said.

The ministers went on to say, “We stress that a path to serious and sustained dialogue remains open and urge the DPRK to return to negotiations.”

“We express our deep concern at the grave hardship the people in the DPRK are experiencing, including due to the ongoing outbreak of COVID-19, and hope the DPRK will respond positively to international offers of assistance,” they added.

The joint statement by the three ministers comes three months after a similar one was issued in Hawaii in February.

In related news, the South Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced that on Friday, Kim Gunn, the South Korean special representative for Korean Peninsula peace and security affairs, will meet with his US and Japanese counterparts, Sung Kim of the US and Japan’s Takehiro Funakoshi, in Seoul for discussions as the three sides’ senior representatives on the North Korean nuclear issue.

During the meeting, they are to assess the recent situation on the Korean Peninsula, including North Korea’s recent ballistic missile launches, and discuss their plans for a response.

According to recent reports in the Japanese press, the South Korean and Japanese foreign ministers are also expected to meet in mid-June in Japan to discuss bilateral issues, including ones related to their shared history.

In a joint statement issued after their May 21 summit, South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol and US President Joe Biden stressed the “importance of ROK-U.S.-Japan trilateral cooperation.”

By Lee Je-hun, senior staff writer

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