World News

At U.N., Britain, France, Germany urge North Korea to hold 'meaningful' talks with U.S.

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - Britain, France and Germany called on North Korea to engage in “meaningful” talks with the United States and said international sanctions need to be fully enforced until Pyongyang has dismantled its nuclear and ballistic missile programs.

The statement came after a closed-door U.N. Security Council meeting on Thursday on North Korea’s latest missile launches.

“International sanctions need to remain in place and be fully enforced until North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs are dismantled,” British U.N. Ambassador Karen Pierce said, with her French and German counterparts beside her.

“It is vital that the Security Council shows unity in upholding its resolutions,” she told reporters.

The 15-member Security Council has unanimously boosted sanctions on North Korea since 2006 in a bid to choke funding for Pyongyang’s missile programs, banning exports including coal, iron, lead, textiles and seafood, and capping imports of crude oil and refined petroleum products.

Chinese President Xi Jinping - an ally of neighbor North Korea - urged U.S. President Donald Trump to ease sanctions on North Korea during their meeting in Japan in June, China’s Foreign Ministry has said.

Trump then met North Korean leader Kim Jong Un - their third meeting since June last year - and agreed to revive stalled denuclearisation talks.

“We urge North Korea to take concrete steps towards its complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearisation and to engage in meaningful negotiations with the U.S. as agreed between President Trump and Kim Jong Un on 30 June,” Pierce said.

North Korea fired two short-range ballistic missiles on Wednesday, the South Korean military said, days after Pyongyang launched two similar missiles intended to pressure South Korea and the United States to scrap upcoming military drills.

The U.N. Security Council has banned North Korea’s use of ballistic missiles.

Reporting by Michelle Nichols; Editing by Bernadette Baum and Bill Berkrot