- Washington strengthens military ties with Japan and South Korea
- Pyongyang has fired a record number of missiles this year
The United States says it is working on additional sanctions against North Korea as it struggles to find ways to pressure the regime back to the negotiating table amid resistance from China and Russia.
The sanctions regime, which, among other things, includes a cap on fuel imports and limits on foreign income, has also shown cracks. North Korea was on track to exceed its limit of 500,000 barrels of annual imports this year, according to an Expert Panel report released in September.
North Korea has been ramping up provocations for months, firing a record number of missiles this year. Last month it tested a suspected intercontinental ballistic missile with an estimated range long enough to carry a warhead to the U.S. mainland, underscoring the challenges U.S. President Joe Biden faces in trying to tame Kim Jong Un’s nuclear ambitions. Washington, Tokyo, and Seoul have promised a coordinated response if Pyongyang detonates an atomic device, in defiance of United Nations resolutions.
Closer military cooperation with Japan and South Korea would include updating the “alliance software we have in the region” and “hardware-related steps,” Sullivan said, declining to elaborate. The three countries have held intensive consultations on the matter at the leadership level, he said.
Both Japan and South Korea are trying to bolster their defenses amid the growing threat from North Korea and simmering tensions over Taiwan.
Sullivan stressed that the United States continued to offer an olive branch to North Korea in an attempt to calm the situation.
“We have made it clear in public and private communications that we have no hostile intentions towards the DPRK,” Sullivan added. “And yet, to date, Pyongyang has completely rejected this sincere outreach.”
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