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Mattis: North Korea short of posing imminent missile threat

16 December 2017

Cho Hyun warned a ministerial meeting of the U.N. Security Council on Friday that if North Korea can put a nuclear warhead on an intercontinental ballistic missile "it will fundamentally alter the security landscape in the region and beyond".

Earlier this week at a policy forum in Washington, Tillerson had underlined that the United States was seeking a diplomatic opening for negotiations with North Korea on ending its nuclear program and, for the first time, offered "talks with no preconditions".

But the White House distanced itself from those remarks by Tillerson and said now is not the time for negotiations.

At the United Nations, Tillerson took a tough line.

Last month, North Korea said it had successfully tested a new type of ICBM that could reach all of the US mainland and South Korea and USA -based experts said data from the November 29 test appeared to support that. "The pressure campaign must and will continue until denuclearization is achieved". "We are open to dialogue. I think we have to start, and he mentioned we are open to dialogue, and let's see how they respond".

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Nebenzia also criticized unilateral sanctions against the North, which the US has imposed, saying they hamper a political settlement, damage third parties, and hurt the civilian population. "They know where to walk through that door when they want to talk", he said.

"North Korea must earn its way back to the table".

He described the Security Council session as "a desperate measure plotted by the United States being terrified by the incredible might of our Republic that has successfully achieved the great historic cause of completing the state nuclear force".

US -based experts, some of whom have been skeptical about past North Korean claims, said last month that data and photos from the test appeared to confirm North Korea had a missile of sufficient power to deliver a nuclear warhead anywhere in America.

The Security Council has ratcheted up sanctions on North Korea over its weapons programs since 2006.

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He called for a united answer of "absolutely no" to North Korean attempts to be recognized as a nuclear-weapons state. "We would like to have Russia's help", said Trump, who discussed the crisis by phone with President Vladimir Putin on Thursday.

Addressing Tillerson directly, the Russian ambassador said: "We very much hope that the USA will be able to help resolve the crisis on the Korean peninsula".

Wu said "the hope for peace is not totally obliterated" and urged all parties to "keep in mind the big picture of maintaining peace and stability" and end rhetoric that exacerbates tensions.

Kono said last week's visit to Pyongyang by United Nations political chief Jeffrey Feltman "only reconfirmed the dire reality" that North Korea "is nowhere near ready" to abandon its nuclear and missile programs, "nor is it interested in returning to a meaningful dialogue".

While Feltman received no firm commitment on talks from North Korea, he said the visit was "just the beginning" of his push for "talks about talks".

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Russian UN Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia said Moscow was committed to implementing UN sanctions on North Korea and echoed China's concerns about unilateral sanctions.

Mattis: North Korea short of posing imminent missile threat