By James Reinl
UNITED NATIONS (AA) - Washington’s envoy to the UN urged North Korea to take steps towards ditching its nuclear weapons program on Wednesday while suggesting that the hermit nation could be “headed in a different direction”.
Ambassador Kelly Craft presided over UN Security Council talks in New York after a spate of missile launches that have cast doubt on a revived negotiation process launched by U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in 2017.
“We are prepared to be flexible but we cannot solve this problem alone, the DPRK must do its part, and it must avoid provocations,” Craft told reporters outside the council, using the official acronym for North Korea.
“While the U.S. has sought to engage in robust diplomacy with the DPRK, we have seen troubling signs that they are headed in a different direction.”
Since becoming president in 2017, Trump has met Kim three times in a bid to persuade him to give up his nuclear and missile programs. But talks have stalled and Kim has given Trump until the end of the year to make concessions.
North Korea has carried out 13 ballistic missile launches since May. Analysts and diplomats worry that Pyongyang could next year resume the nuclear and long-range missile testing that were suspended in 2017.
As well as its test ballistic missile launches, Pyongyang on Sunday publicized a “very important test” at a long-range rocket launch site that analysts say may have been a new engine for a space vehicle or long-range missile.
Pyongyang’s “continued ballistic missile testing is deeply counterproductive to the shared objectives” that were agreed at the Trump-Kim summits, Craft told the council, speaking in her national capacity.
“These actions also risk closing the door on this opportunity to find a better way for the future.”