Kerry: North Korea 'Not Even Close' to Meeting Conditions for Talks
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has met with South Korean President Park Geun-hye and Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se in Seoul to discuss security on the Korean peninsula and bilateral issues.
At a joint news conference after the meetings on Monday, Kerry said North Korea has "not even come close" to taking the steps needed to rein in its nuclear weapons program for Washington to initiate talks, adding that it was necessary to boost pressure on Pyongyang.
North Korea is already under heavy U.N. sanctions for its missile and nuclear tests.
Kerry also said it is likely the North will be referred to the International Criminal Court if its current violations of human rights continue.
On Sunday in Beijing, Kerry met with Chinese President Xi Jinping. A senior State Department official said they discussed a shared commitment to the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula and agreed on the importance of maintaining pressure on Pyongyang.
The official said they also talked about climate change, the nuclear negotiations with Iran, providing development aid around the world, and Afghanistan.
Kerry also expressed concern about China's ongoing land reclamation in the South China Sea and highlighted the need to lower tensions, resolve disputes peacefully, respect international law, and to exercise restraint.
UN Condemns Fighting in South Sudan, Repeated Violations of Cease-Fire
The U.N. Security Council has condemned fighting in two northern states in South Sudan and the repeated violations of a cease-fire agreement the government and rebels signed early last year.
In a statement late Sunday, the council said a government military offensive in Unity State caused large-scale violence that has forced 100,000 people from their homes and halted aid delivery to civilians in the area.
The council also blamed the rebels for launching an attack on the town of Malakal in Upper Nile state.
A bloc of East African nations that has been trying to mediate the conflict between President Salva Kiir's government and rebels backing former Vice President Riek Machar said it was "deeply frustrated" by the rebel violence in Malakal.
The Intergovernmental Authority on Development urged both sides to follow through on their agreement and find a peaceful end to the crisis.