NEW YORK – Prime Minister Shinzo Abe urged all U.N. member states Wednesday to block North Korea’s access to “the goods, funds, people and technology” necessary for its nuclear arms and missile programs.
In his address at the annual U.N. General Assembly in New York, on the heels of a sixth nuclear test and a series of ballistic missile launches by North Korea, Abe said history shows that attempts at dialogue with the North “have all come to naught.”
Abe demanded that all states strictly and fully enforce the series of U.N. Security Council resolutions targeting North Korea, saying the world must unite to make Pyongyang change its policies.
“We must make North Korea abandon all nuclear and ballistic missile programs in a complete, verifiable and irreversible manner. What is needed to do that is not dialogue, but pressure,” he said.
Without specifically naming them, Abe laid criticism at the feet of countries including China and Russia that have advocated for direct talks with North Korea to get it to denuclearize.
Citing the Agreed Framework reached between Washington and Pyongyang in 1994 and the six-party talks involving the two Koreas, China, Russia, Japan and the United States that have been stalled since 2008, Abe said North Korea had “no intention whatsoever of abandoning its nuclear or missile development.
“For North Korea, dialogue was instead the best means of deceiving us and buying time,” he said. “In what hope of success are we now repeating the very same failure a third time?”
Abe hailed the U.N. Security Council’s unanimous adoption on Sept. 11 of a sanctions resolution that for the first time capped North Korea’s supply of oil and petroleum products.
But he said that did not go far enough, as North Korea has “already demonstrated its disregard” of the resolution by firing a ballistic missile over Japan into the Pacific Ocean on Sept. 15, “before the ink on (the resolution) was even dry.”
“Whether or not we can put an end to the provocations by North Korea is dependent upon the solidarity of the international community,” he said.
Abe drew attention to the unresolved issue of North Korea’s abduction of Japanese nationals in the 1970s and 1980s, noting that November will mark 40 years since the abduction of 13-year-old Megumi Yokota.
He stressed that North Korea’s location and abundant natural resources mean there is still hope for the reclusive state to one day grow its economy and improve the lives of its people.
“By failing to resolve the abduction, nuclear weapons and missiles issues, and by becoming a threat to all humanity, there is absolutely no future that North Korea can open up for itself,” he said.
Abe’s address was in step with that of U.S. President Donald Trump, who on Tuesday voiced “outrage” at some states’ continuation of trade with North Korea and called on all nations to isolate the country “until it ceases its hostile behavior.”
Abe reiterated Wednesday that Japan consistently supports the U.S. stance that “all options are on the table.”
Trump grabbed headlines with the remark in his Tuesday speech that if the United States “is forced to defend itself or its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea.”
Abe and Trump are scheduled to hold talks on Thursday, followed by a trilateral meeting that will also include South Korean President Moon Jae-in.