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EU vows support for dismantling North Korea' s nukes
Published in The Saudi Gazette on 09 - 09 - 2021

The European Union (EU) pledged support Thursday for building peace on the Korean Peninsula, stressing the importance of implementing sanctions on North Korea to end its nuclear program, Yonhap News Agency reported.
Josep Borrell, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, made the remarks in a congratulatory message to an opening ceremony for an annual international security forum hosted by the South Korean Defense Ministry in Seoul.
"On the Korean Peninsula, you can count on European Union's support for the dismantlement of North Korea's weapons of mass destruction in a verifiable and irreversible manner," Borrell was quoted as saying in a video message.
"We continue to encourage the full implementation of sanctions, while at the same time, we stand ready to lend our experience in finding diplomatic and multilateral solutions," the bloc's foreign policy chief said.
Referring to the growing importance of the Indo-Pacific region for Europe, Borrell said the union aims to reinforce its "strategic focus and presence and actions" in the region.
"The European Union is your close and reliable partner, and increasingly so, also, on security and defense matters," he said.
In a keynote speech, Britain's top diplomat Dominic Raab also expressed support for Seoul's efforts to engage with North Korea.
"We must continue to work together towards complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization of the peninsula, as well as the establishment of a more positive, permanent peace," Raab said.
"We hope that direct communication between the North and South can resume as soon as possible."
Baroness Goldie, Britain's minister of state at the Ministry of Defense, said sanctions would remain in place to apply pressure to the North, saying "a strong statement" is not enough.
"We are willing to back up our words with actions through the deployment of Royal Navy vessels and military personnel to enforce maritime sanctions," she said.
Yevgeny Ilyin, the first deputy chief of the Russian Defense Ministry's main department for international military cooperation, however, said sanctions "which oppress the lives of ordinary people" should be reconsidered.
"The use of this tool of coercion can lead to negative consequences and escalation of the situation," he said. "Humanitarian aid and support can be an effective instrument in encouraging dialogue on arms control."
While the current situation is "deeply regrettable," UN High Representative for Disarmament Affairs Nakamitsu Izumi said, "Direct diplomacy amongst key parties concerned is the only effective path forward."
"The United Nations system can provide technical and political support if requested by the parties concerned, including in the areas of verification, confidence building measures and by offering channels of communication," Nakamitsu said.
The remarks came amid a deadlock in nuclear negotiations between the United States and North Korea, with Pyongyang warning of a "serious security crisis" in protest of the South Korea-US combined exercise in August.
On Thursday, North Korea staged a nighttime military parade in Pyongyang to mark the 73rd anniversary of the national founding with leader Kim Jong-un in attendance, though no new strategic weapons were displayed.
The North last staged a military parade in January after a rare party congress and showcased a new submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) and other advanced ballistic missiles. — Agencies

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