North Korea’s nuclear threat takes center stage at the United Nations on Thursday as United States President Donald Trump holds talks with leaders of Japan and South Korea and the Security Council meets to push for sanctions to be enforced against Pyongyang.
After threatening to “totally destroy North Korea” in his first address to the General Assembly, Trump will sit down with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and South Korean leader Moon Jae-In to discuss the way forward.
Also on Thursday, Moon will take the UN podium to appeal for international support in the standoff with the North, which has carried out six nuclear tests and fired two intercontinental ballistic missiles.
The threat from North Korea’s nuclear and missile tests has dominated this year’s gathering of world leaders, but divisions remain over how to confront Pyongyang.
China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi and his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov, who will also deliver their speeches on Thursday, have called for diplomatic talks and warned that military action would be catastrophic.
In his UN address on Wednesday, Japan’s Abe backed the tough US stance, declaring that the time for dialogue with North Korea was over and that pressure from sanctions must be brought to bear.
At the Security Council, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will push for fully implementing a new raft of sanctions targeting North Korea’s exports and its energy supplies.
The council last week adopted new punitive measures, slapping an export ban on textiles, ending work permits for North Korean guest workers and capping oil shipments.
That was a significant ratcheting-up of sanctions aimed at cutting off revenue used by Pyongyang to develop its military programs, but their impact hinges mostly on China, North Korea’s ally and main trading partner.
The United States called for the special council meeting on non-proliferation that will be attended by foreign ministers from the 15 countries including China, Russia and Japan.