U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned members of the United Nations Security Council on Thursday that they must “set the example” by enforcing sanctions on North Korea as China and Russia suggested the council consider easing the tough measures.
China and Russia said the council should reward Pyongyang for the “positive developments” this year with U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un having met in June and Kim pledging to work toward denuclearization.
Pompeo chaired a meeting of the 15-member council on the sidelines of the annual U.N. gathering of world leaders after meeting with his North Korean counterpart Ri Yong-ho on Wednesday. Pompeo plans to travel to Pyongyang next month.
But until Pyongyang gives up its nuclear weapons program, Pompeo said: “Enforcement of Security Council sanctions must continue vigorously and without fail until we realize the fully, final, verified denuclearization.”
“The members of the council must set the example on that effort,” Pompeo said.
Earlier this month, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley accused Russia of cheating on U.N. sanctions on North Korea.
The Security Council has unanimously boosted sanctions since 2006 in a bid to choke off funding for Pyongyang’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs.
The Chinese government’s top diplomat Wang Yi noted that there are provisions in Security Council resolutions for the body to modify sanctions if North Korea complies.
He said that “given the positive developments” China believed the council “needs to consider invoking in due course this provision to encourage the DPRK and other relevant parties to move denuclearization further ahead,” using North Korea’s official name of Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK).