NATO leaders on Wednesday called for continued pressure and ongoing sanctions enforcement on North Korea, during a summit of the 29 member countries currently taking place in Brussels.
The group signed a declaration which called on members to maintain pressure on the DPRK, though also welcomed recent diplomatic progress in the region.
“We call upon (North Korea) to fully implement its international obligations; to eliminate its nuclear, chemical, and biological warfare capabilities and ballistic missiles, and abandon all related `programs,” the statement said.
“We call on all nations to maintain decisive pressure on (North Korea), including by fully implementing existing U.N. sanctions.”
The NATO statement comes during as negotiations between Washington and Pyongyang hit a stumbling block over the weekend.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visited the North Korean capital for two days of talks of July 5, but following his visit, North Korea was quick to decry the U.S. negotiating position via its state media.
The NATO comments on sanctions also follow on from remarks from both U.S. President Donald Trump and Pompeo, who indicated that Chinese enforcement of UN sanctions may have slipped in recent months.
NK Pro has reported on a re-emergence of North Korea-flagged ships at Chinese bulk ports, while the Japanese authorities have released photographs of North Korean tankers receiving oil shipments at sea, in breach of UN resolutions.
Trump also went a step further on Monday, claiming that China may be exerting downward pressure on negotiations with North Korea, as part of a larger set of retaliatory measures in an ongoing trade dispute between Washington and Beijing.
For its part, the Chinese government denied that it is attempting to scuttle the negotiations during a regular foreign ministry press briefing on Tuesday.
“I have three points to make. First, China’s position on the Korean peninsula issue is consistent. Second, China’s attitude on the China-U.S. trade issues is clear. Third, China is a trustworthy and responsible major country,” spokesperson Hua Chunying said.
The 2018 NATO summit will run for two days starting on Wednesday and leaders of countries and governments – including Trump – will be in attendance to discuss numerous security issues.
The U.S. President has been engaged in numerous arguments with NATO members in the run-up to the summit, mainly over the respective financial contributions to the group, with the North Korean statement likely to be one of few points of agreement emerging from the meetings.
Edited by Oliver Hotham
Featured image: NATO
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