UN OKs new sanctions vs N. Korea. What next?

Vietnam challenges China at security talks

In the United Nations (UN), the Security Council voted unanimously last Saturday for a ban on North Korea's primary exports of coal, iron and iron ore, lead and lead ore, and seafood, for its continued violation of UN resolutions against missile and nuclear weapons testing.

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson held a door open for dialogue with North Korea yesterday, saying Washington was willing to talk to Pyongyang if it halted a series of recent missile test launches.

China, North Korea's main trading partner, has pledged to enforce the new sanctions but some critics are skeptical given what is widely seen as Beijing's lax policing of existing restrictions.

Mr Moon and Mr Trump had a 56-minute telephone conversation on Monday during which the United States leader expressed interest in Seoul's recent offer for Pyongyang to hold inter-Korean dialogue, according to government spokesman Park Soo-hyun.

The United States does not seek regime change, the collapse of the regime, an accelerated reunification of the peninsula or an excuse to send the US military into North Korea, Tillerson said. The new United Nations resolution also calls for greater scrutiny of North Korea's legitimate diplomatic activities, which have played a role in North Korea's illicit engagements. She hailed the resolution as the "single largest economic sanctions package ever leveled against the North Korean regime".

Top diplomats from Asia-Pacific countries expressed "grave concern" on Tuesday over North Korea's escalation of regional tensions and urged it to comply with UN Security Council resolutions.

Tillerson said Washington would not "specify a specific number of days or weeks" before deciding that North Korea had indeed stopped its tests.

"It's quite clear in terms of there being no daylight between the global community as to the expectation that North Korea will take steps to achieve all of my objectives, which is a denuclearised Korean peninsula", he told reporters on Monday.

"Do not violate the U.N.'s decision or provoke worldwide society's goodwill by conducting missile launching or nuclear tests", Wang said, in an unusually direct admonition. Meanwhile, previous Asean statements against North Korea have only increased antagonism, he said.

But Tillerson appeared more conciliatory yesterday.

Would Tillerson interact with his North Korean counterpart, even informally, if they crossed paths in Manila?

The ARF, launched in 1994, is a rare multilateral diplomatic stage to which North Korea also sends its foreign minister annually. Instead, the US was represented at the dinner by Thornton, whose official title is acting assistant secretary of State for East Asia and Pacific Affairs.

North Korea, which has developed an intercontinental ballistic missile some expert observers assess is capable of delivering a nuclear payload to cities across America, is livid and threatening to retaliate. An announcement was initially planned for last Friday but was postponed, apparently after China softened its resistance to new United Nations sanctions, diplomats said.

But Wang, the Chinese envoy, cast Ri's presence in Manila as a positive, enabling him to "hear the voices from other sides".

Ri hasn't spoken publicly since arriving in the Philippines.

"Now the US mainland is on the crossroads of life and death", the commentary warned.

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