Bolstered by new U.N. sanctions, the United States and North Korea's neighbors are joining in a fresh attempt to isolate Pyongyang over its nuclear and missile programs, in a global campaign cheered on by U.S. President Donald Trump.
"These developments seriously threaten peace, security and stability in the region and the world", the foreign ministers of ASEAN countries - which include the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand - said in a joint statement. Along with stopping the missile launches, North Korea would have to quit its nuclear weapons testing, he said recently.
"The United Nations Security Council just voted 15-0 to sanction North Korea", Trump tweeted, according to Politico.
"But I think the world is also expressing a view to China and Russian Federation that we do have an expectation that you will do everything you possibly can to help North Korea understand the reality of the future as well and bring them to the negotiating table". Repeating a threat made a number of times since the recent intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM) tests, Ri said that all of the US was now within striking range of Pyongyang's missiles.
North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho emerges from his bilateral meeting with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi, right, in the sidelines of the 50th ASEAN Foreign Ministers' Meeting and its Dialogue Partners Sunday, Aug. 6, 2017 in suburban Pasay city, south Manila, Philippines.
The new sanctions will block the export of iron ore, lead, iron, coal and seafood, and will reportedly prevent the North Korean regime from raising $1 billion annually.
Apart from a developing missile and nuclear program, North Korea has a powerful army with 700,000 active troops and another 4.5 million in the reserves. The picture above from 2013 shows leader Kim Jong Un ordering strategic rocket forces to be on standby to strike United States and South Korean targets at any time.
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But Tillerson says it's not as simple as North Korea stopping launches for a few days or weeks. "This is really about the spirit of these talks, and they can demonstrate they're ready to sit with a spirit of finding a way forward in these talks by no longer conducting these missile tests", he said.
"We'll know it when we see it", Tillerson said.
Even as they celebrate a diplomatic victory in persuading China and Russian Federation to sign on to cutting new sanctions, the US and other countries are deeply concerned that failure to rigorously enforce them could significantly blunt their impact.
At the same time, Washington has issued blunt warnings the USA will use military force if necessary and North Korea has answered in kind.
Thornton says the USA wants to ensure that with the new sanctions, there's "not this kind of episodic back and forth that we've seen".
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says the approval of new United Nations sanctions targeting North Korea over its nuclear and ballistic missile programs is a "very good outcome". Beforehand, he had called at the Security Council for countries to cut diplomatic and financial ties with Pyongyang.
Tensions on the Korean Peninsula and the other security-related issues are expected to be discussed at other meetings between ASEAN and members of ARF in Manila that run through Monday.