US, S Korea, Japan Discuss N Korea 10/18 05:48
Senior officials from the United States, South Korea and Japan have
reaffirmed their countries' commitment to finding a diplomatic solution to the
threat posed by North Korea's rapidly expanding nuclear program.
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) -- Senior officials from the United States, South
Korea and Japan reaffirmed their countries' commitment Wednesday to finding a
diplomatic solution to the threat posed by North Korea's rapidly expanding
nuclear program. However, U.S. Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan stressed
that the allies must be prepared for any contingency.
After meeting with his South Korean and Japanese counterparts in Seoul,
Sullivan said the U.S. continues to view diplomacy, supported by pressure and
sanctions, as the primary means for solving the North Korean nuclear problem.
But despite that approach, the Trump administration will continue to keep "all
options on the table" because the "regime in Pyongyang is unpredictable and
non-transparent," he said.
"Our objective is, throughout that campaign of pressure, to bring North
Korea to the negotiating table without preconditions so that we can achieve our
objective of a denuclearized Korean Peninsula," Sullivan said at a news
conference after the meeting, where the officials mainly discussed responses to
North Korea's nuclear activities.
"Diplomacy is our primary objective and primary means to addressing the
threat posed by North Korea. But we need to be prepared to respond to any
eventuality given the unpredictable nature of the regime in Pyongyang," he said.
Before flying to Seoul for talks with South Korean Vice Foreign Minister Lim
Sung-nam, Sullivan and Japanese Deputy Foreign Minister Shinsuke Sugiyama met
in Tokyo on Tuesday and vowed to find more ways to apply pressure on North
On Wednesday, Lim said the allies agree that the situation surrounding the
Korean Peninsula should be "managed stably."
The vice-ministerial discussions were followed by a meeting of the
countries' top envoys for currently stalled nuclear disarmament talks with
North Korea that also involved China and Russia. The six-party talks were last
held in late 2008 and North Korea went on to conduct its second nuclear test in
The Seoul meetings came as the U.S. and South Korea conduct joint naval
drills involving fighter jets, submarines and other naval vessels, including
the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan, to train for potential North Korean
provocations. The allies regularly conduct joint exercises that North Korea
condemns as invasion rehearsals.
North Korea in recent months has tested purported thermonuclear weapons and
intercontinental missiles and launched two midrange missiles over Japan while
also threatening to fire similar weapons toward Guam, a Pacific U.S. territory
and military hub.
North Korea's deputy U.N. ambassador, Kim In Ryong, said Tuesday at the
United Nations that his country plans to conduct more satellite launches, which
outside governments see as a cover for banned tests of missile technologies.
On Monday, Kim told the U.N. General Assembly's disarmament committee that
the situation on the Korean Peninsula had "reached the touch-and-go point and a
nuclear war may break out any moment," citing the U.S.-South Korea drills and
what he called U.S. plans to remove North Korea's leadership. He said the North
has the right to possess nuclear weapons in self-defense.