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US seeks to keep North Korea sanctions; Russia, China object

| Thursday, Sept. 27, 2018, 7:27 p.m.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo shakes hands with South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha after a meeting of the United Nations Security Council during the 73rd session of the U.N. General Assembly at U.N. headquarters Thursday, Sept. 27, 2018.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo shakes hands with South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha after a meeting of the United Nations Security Council during the 73rd session of the U.N. General Assembly at U.N. headquarters Thursday, Sept. 27, 2018.
China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi receives a word as he attends a meeting of the United Nations Security Council during the 73rd session of the U.N. General Assembly at U.N. headquarters Thursday, Sept. 27, 2018.
China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi receives a word as he attends a meeting of the United Nations Security Council during the 73rd session of the U.N. General Assembly at U.N. headquarters Thursday, Sept. 27, 2018.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, second from left, attends a meeting with permanent members of United Nations Security Council in New York on Thursday, Sept. 27, 2018. From left, United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres; Pompeo; Jonathan Cohen, U.S. deputy ambassador to the U.N.; Jeremy Hunt, Britain Foreign Affairs Secretary; and last on left side row is Karen Pierce, Britain’s U.N. ambassador. From right, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, French Foreign Affairs Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, French ambassador to the U.N. Francois Delattre, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Russian Ambassador to the U.N. Vassily Nebenzia.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, second from left, attends a meeting with permanent members of United Nations Security Council in New York on Thursday, Sept. 27, 2018. From left, United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres; Pompeo; Jonathan Cohen, U.S. deputy ambassador to the U.N.; Jeremy Hunt, Britain Foreign Affairs Secretary; and last on left side row is Karen Pierce, Britain’s U.N. ambassador. From right, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, French Foreign Affairs Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, French ambassador to the U.N. Francois Delattre, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Russian Ambassador to the U.N. Vassily Nebenzia.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo begins a meeting of the United Nations Security Council during the 73rd session of the U.N. General Assembl, at U.N. headquarters Thursday, Sept. 27, 2018.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo begins a meeting of the United Nations Security Council during the 73rd session of the U.N. General Assembl, at U.N. headquarters Thursday, Sept. 27, 2018.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo attends a meeting of the United Nations Security Council during the 73rd session of the U.N. General Assembly at U.N. headquarters Thursday, Sept. 27, 2018.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo attends a meeting of the United Nations Security Council during the 73rd session of the U.N. General Assembly at U.N. headquarters Thursday, Sept. 27, 2018.

UNITED NATIONS — Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Thursday that the world stands at the “dawn of a new day” in relations with North Korea but that international sanctions must remain in place and vigorously enforced if diplomatic efforts to get the country to denuclearize are to succeed — a position that faced resistance from China and Russia.

Chairing a special session of the U.N. Security Council, Pompeo said President Trump’s diplomatic breakthrough with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has led to a point where the nuclear threat from the country can be resolved. But the “unprecedented diplomatic opening” would close unless the pressure from sanctions is kept up.

“Until the final denuclearization of the DPRK is achieved and fully verified, it is our solemn collective responsibility to fully implement all U.N. Security Council resolutions pertaining to North Korea,” he said, using the initials for the country’s formal name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

Pompeo said the U.S. has evidence that U.N. sanctions, particularly those restricting North Korean oil imports and coal exports, are being violated and he demanded that U.N. members ensure they are respected.

“Enforcement of U.N. Security Council sanctions must continue vigorously and without fail until we realize final, fully verified denuclearization,” Pompeo said.

China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi, whose country is North Korea’s main ally, agreed that the sanctions “remain valid,” but he said the resolutions provide for them to be modified based on North Korea’s compliance and the council should consider doing so.

“China believes that the Security Council may consider invoking in due course this provision in order to encourage (North Korea) and other relevant parties to move denuclearization further ahead,” he said.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Moscow believes that certain sanctions, unrelated to the nuclear program, should also be eased.

“We also think it’s very important to regularly discuss whether it’s advisable to review various restrictions against DPRK as it moves towards giving up its nuclear weapons,” Lavrov told the session, adding that the U.N.’s sanctions committee should consider “applications for exemptions from the sanctions regime” for projects agreed to by Pyongyang and Seoul.

China and Russia also said they share with North and South Korea a desire to produce a document that would declare an end to the Korean War, which ended with an armistice and not a formal peace treaty.

The Trump administration has balked at signing such a declaration without significant progress on denuclearization, such as North Korea submitting a complete inventory of its nuclear and ballistic missile facilities that could be used by international inspectors to verify they have been dismantled.

Pompeo, who met on Wednesday with North Korea’s foreign minister, will make a third trip to North Korea next month to set the stage for a second summit between Kim and Trump, who met in Singapore in June.

Trump, Pompeo and other U.S. officials have repeatedly reported progress in the denuclearization discussions with the North, but there has been little visible evidence of that to date.

Although North Korea has suspended nuclear and missile testing and has taken some steps to dismantle affiliated facilities, it has continued to develop missiles and has made no public show of taking down its nuclear weapons development.

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