Denuclearisation of North Korea priority, not regime change: White House
Washington: The Trump administration is focused on denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula and anything beyond that is not a priority at this point, the White House said on Friday.
“This administration is focused on one big thing when it comes to North Korea. And that’s denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula. That’s our number one priority. That’s what we’re focused on. Anything beyond that is not the priority at this point,” White House press secretary Sarah Sanders told reporters.
Sanders was responding to a question if this administration now advocates regime change in North Korea. According to Sanders, US President Donald Trump has spoken several times this week to his administration officials and world leaders, specifically about North Korea.
“And he’s going to continue to do that, and continue to talk to all of the relevant stakeholders,” she said in response to another question. The State Department welcomed Germany’s decision to downsize its diplomatic mission in Pyongyang and require North Korea to reduce its presence in Berlin.
“That is something that is a part of our maximum pressure campaign to take money out of North Korea, to try to choke off the money that goes into North Korea, that goes into its ballistic and nuclear programs,” State Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert told reporters at her news conference.
The world, she said, recognises what a regional and global threat North Korea is. “So many countries in the world are on board with this campaign, on board with the maximum pressure campaign. But countries have to make their own decisions about what will work best for them,” the spokesperson said.
“We ask countries to choke off the money supply that goes into North Korea. We know for a fact that North Korea doesn’t use the money that comes in to its government or to its people for the benefit of its people. They don’t feed their people; they have people starving, malnourished. We’ve all seen that. You’ve seen the intestinal problems that the soldier who just escaped from North Korea has certainly had,” Nauert said in response to a question.
The US has called on countries across the world to join it in the maximum pressure campaign in reducing the size of their missions in North Korea. “If they would be willing to close their missions in North Korea altogether, I think that is something we would be supportive of. We’ve also called on nations to kick out North Korean guest workers, to reduce the size of North Korean missions in their own countries. It’s a broad pressure campaign,” Nauert said.
The US has urged nations to step up maximum pressure against North Korea after the reclusive state fired an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) on Tuesday. PTI
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