TOKYO (Reuters) – U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said Thursday that United Nations Security Council resolutions regarding North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs must be fully implemented by Pyongyang and other countries.
Guterres made the comments to reporters after meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Tokyo just days after U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson offered to begin direct talks with North Korea without pre-conditions.
The White House said Wednesday that no negotiations could be held with North Korea until it improves its behavior. The White House has declined to say whether President Donald Trump, who has taken a tougher rhetorical line toward Pyongyang than Tillerson, gave approval for the top U.S. diplomat’s overture.
“It is very clear that the Security Council resolutions must be fully implemented first of all by North Korea but by all other countries whose role is crucial to … achieve the result we all aim at, which is the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula,” Guterres said.
Japan has insisted that now is the time to keep up maximum pressure on Pyongyang, not start talks on the North’s missile and nuclear programs.
Tillerson’s overture came nearly two weeks after North Korea said it had successfully tested a breakthrough intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) that put the entire United States mainland within range. In September, North Korea fired a ballistic missile over the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido, the second to fly over Japan in less than a month.
North Korea appears to have little interest in negotiations with the United States until it has developed the ability to hit the U.S. mainland with a nuclear-tipped missile, something most experts say it has still not proved.
United Nations political affairs chief Jeffrey Feltman, who visited Pyongyang last week, said on Tuesday senior North Korean officials did not offer any type of commitment to talks, but he believes he left “the door ajar”.
Reporting by Linda Sieg; Editing by Chang-Ran Kim & Simon Cameron-Moore