Yoon uses NATO speech to underscore hawkish approach to N. Korea

Posted on : 2022-07-01 17:22 KST Modified on : 2022-07-01 17:22 KST
South Korea is reportedly in talks with the US for additional sanctions on the North
President Yoon Suk-yeol takes part in the NATO summit for allies and partners in Madrid, Spain, on June 29. (pool photo)
President Yoon Suk-yeol takes part in the NATO summit for allies and partners in Madrid, Spain, on June 29. (pool photo)

While attending the NATO summit in Madrid, President Yoon Suk-yeol made it clear that he would take a hard-line approach to North Korea.

Amidst the possibility of North Korea conducting a seventh nuclear test, Yoon used his time on the international stage to highlight the stark difference between his more hawkish approach to the North and the Korean Peninsula peace process of his predecessor, Moon Jae-in.

“In order to lead North Korea down the path of denuclearization, we must clearly show that the international community’s determination to denuclearize the North is stronger than their reckless intent to develop nuclear weapons and missiles programs,” Yoon said during his speech at the NATO summit on Wednesday.

An official from the presidential office explained, “This remark is aimed at bringing together nations with the same values and determinations based on a firm security posture in accordance with the philosophy that freedom is protected only by force.”

President Yoon underscored the need for pressure on North Korea in this speech, which lasted for a little over three minutes, to the leaders of NATO-allied states.

“North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs are clear violations of UN Security Council resolutions,” he said. “[Such tests] are a major challenge to peace and security on the Korean Peninsula and the international community.”

Earlier, Yoon had remarked ahead of the summit with Japan and the US that the “trilateral partnership” between the countries had been rendered “all the more important” by the continued advancement of North Korea’s nuclear and missile capabilities and growing uncertainties on an international level.

The Korean government is also reportedly discussing additional sanctions against North Korea with the US government.

The US has been taking a proactive stance in expanding sanctions against people and organizations to block funding to North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs.

When asked by reporters whether new sanctions on North Korea had been discussed at the trilateral summit, a presidential office official said no such sanctions had been addressed during the meeting that day. The official added, however, that “there seems to be a plan prepared for expanding sanctions on North Korean individuals and organizations.”

“The remaining additional sanctions are military matters and various security matters, so there have been discussions between South Korea and the US, but it is difficult to disclose [details] now,” the official noted.

By Kim Mi-na, staff reporter; Bae Ji-hyun, staff reporter

Please direct questions or comments to [english@hani.co.kr]

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