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Thailand offers to help open US-N Korean dialogue amid nuclear tension

Dec 14. 2017
Joseph Yun, the US Special Representative for North Korea Policy  (left), meets with Deputy Foreign Minister Veerasak Futrakul at the Foreign Ministry yesterday (courtesy of the Foreign Ministry)
Joseph Yun, the US Special Representative for North Korea Policy (left), meets with Deputy Foreign Minister Veerasak Futrakul at the Foreign Ministry yesterday (courtesy of the Foreign Ministry)
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By THE NATION
AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

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THAILAND’S National Security Council (NSC) has urged the United States to keep a dialogue channel open with North Korea amid increased pressure by the international community on Pyongyang regarding its nuclear programme.

General Wallop Rohsanoh, the NSC secretary-general who held talks with US special envoy Joseph Yun yesterday, said Thailand was ready to help bring North Korea to the negotiating table if there is an opportunity. 

Yun also met Deputy Foreign Minister Veerasak Futrakul to discuss the issue yesterday. While Yun reiterated that the US wished to lessen tensions through peaceful dialogue, Veerasak emphasised Thailand’s strict obligations under the UN Security Council resolutions.

“Thailand has also cooperated with the international community to push the DPRK to return to the dialogue process to denuclearise and lessen tensions in the Korean peninsula,” read the Foreign Ministry’s press release, referring to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the North’s official name.Yun and Veerasak at the Foreign Ministry yesterday (courtesy of the Foreign Ministry)

Meanwhile, Thailand has drastically reduced trade with North Korea amid mounting international pressure to isolate the pariah state, the government said yesterday.

Thailand is one of several Southeast Asian countries to host a North Korean embassy, and once enjoyed extensive economic ties with the reclusive regime.

But the Commerce Ministry yesterday said trade with Pyongyang had “plunged” and would soon be non-existent as Thailand complied with UN resolutions to cut off North Korea in response to its increasingly powerful missile and nuclear tests.

“It’s expected that by late 2017 there will be no export or import of goods between Thailand and North Korea,” said Pimchanok Vonkorpon, director of the Thai Commerce Ministry’s Trade Policy and Strategy Office.

Yun’s visit is part of his trip from Monday to today to Asia – including a stop in Japan – “to discuss ways to strengthen the pressure campaign following the DPRK’s latest ballistic missile test,” the US State Department said in an earlier statement.

A source at the Thai Commerce Ministry earlier said Thailand had fully complied with a UN Security Council resolution on North Korea and any additional request by the US would require the approval of the Thai government.

But sanctions against North Korea have started to bite.

The UN Security Council has ordered countries to stop providing guest-worker permits to North Koreans after Pyongyang’s sixth nuclear test in September.

 

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