"Critical window of opportunity" to build trust over DPRK nuclear tests

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A wide view of the Security Council Chamber. UN Photo/Manuel Elias (file photo)

There is a "critical window of opportunity" to ease tensions over North Korea's continuing defiance of UN Security Council resolutions, said China's ambassador on Friday.

Liu Jieyi was addressing Council members following a unanimous vote in favour of tightening sanctions against North Korea, also known as the DPRK, following numerous ballistic missile launches this year.

Matthew Wells reports.

The resolution drafted by the United States condemned the series of launches in support of DPRK's nuclear testing programme that have taken place in recent months – nine so far this year.

It subjects further individuals and entities from North Korea to asset freezes, and travel bans.

US Ambassador Nikki Haley said that it was "long past time" for DPRK to stop its dangerous and provocative tests, and said her country would work tirelessly to make Pyongyang comply with council resolutions.

She called on all countries to do their part, including severing ties with North Korea, but said the US was committed, for now, to a diplomatic path.

"Our goal is not regime change. The United States has no wish to threaten the North Korean people or destabilize the Asia-Pacific region, but as we have said before, all options for responding to future provocations must remain on the table."

Ambassador Liu said China wholly opposed DPRK's launches and the 15-0 vote in the Security Council showed there was a united front to work towards peace and stability for the region, and the wider world.

His words are spoken by an interpreter.

"There is a critical window of opportunity for the nuclear issue of the peninsula to come back to the right track of seeking a settlement through dialogue and negotiations. It is incumbent on all parties concerned to exercise restraint and do more to help ease the tension and build mutual trust."

He called for a "dual track" approach, where North Korea would suspend its missile tests in return for a suspension of military exercises carried out by the US and the Republic of Korea.

Matthew Wells, United Nations.

Duration: 1'34"

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