North Korea expected to announce position on latest sanctions

North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho arrives at a hotel in Manila, Philippines, Sunday evening. File Photo by Yonhap/EPA

Aug. 7 (UPI) — North Korea is expected to soon make an announcement on its position regarding the latest round of sanctions that passed at the United Nations Security Council.

North Korea spokesman Bang Kwang Hyok told South Korean news service Money Today on Monday he would make an announcement “today” regarding its stance on the tougher measures.

Bang was in the Philippines with a North Korean delegation that includes North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho.

Ri is scheduled to attend the ASEAN Regional Security Forum, or ARF.

The statement from North Korea comes at a time when Pyongyang is showing no sign of interest in cooperating with Seoul or responding to invitations to civic-level engagement.

According to Yonhap, Ri recently rebuffed South Korea’s recent offer of talks, citing a “lack of sincerity.”

The talks the North Korean foreign minister were referring to include dialogue Seoul has proposed, aiming to alleviate tensions at the demilitarized zone.

South Korea’s top diplomat Kang Kyung-hwa had said she wanted to hear a response to the offer “as soon as possible,” when she briefly exchanged words with Ri on Sunday evening, according to the report.

While Ri spurned talks with the South, he went ahead and held bilateral talks with the Russian and Philippine foreign ministers, Money Today reported.

“Today at the Philippine International Convention Center we met with Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov to exchange views on regional issues and bilateral relations,” Bang said. “Afterward we met with the Philippine foreign minister to exchange views on bilateral relations, especially regarding ASEAN.”

Ahead of the gathering, the United States had urged ASEAN countries to “downgrade” its North Korea ties.

Southeast Asian countries participating in the forum had earlier issued a statement, expressing concern about North Korea’s test of what is believed to be an intercontinental ballistic missile.

The ASEAN Regional Forum provides opportunities for top diplomats to hold talks on the sidelines.


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