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South Korea says North has shown 'clear commitment' to denuclearization

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres (L) meets with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at the UN headquarters in New York, July 20, 2018. (Photo by AFP)

South Korea’s foreign minister says North Korea has shown a "clear commitment" to complete denuclearization amid attempts by the United States to pressure Pyongyang.

"They have made a clear commitment on complete denuclearization repeatedly, and of course very forcefully at the Singapore summit with [US] President [Donald] Trump, and we will hold them up to that commitment,” Kang Kyung-Wha said Friday.

She made the remarks ahead of a meeting with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and members of the United Nations Security Council in New York.

Diplomats said they expected Pompeo to urge the Council to maintain a firm stance toward Pyongyang and keep sanctions in place.

In June, President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un held a historic summit in Singapore where the two agreed to “work toward denuclearization” of the Korean Peninsula.

After Pompeo’s third trip to North Korea earlier this month, Pyongyang complained of Pompeo’s “gangster-like” demands on rapid denuclearization.

Contrary to what the South Korean official said, the US intelligence chief stated on the same day that North Korea was unlikely to denuclearize in one year.

China, Russia block US bid at UN to halt fuel delivery to North Korea 

In related news, China and Russia put a hold on a request made by Washington to cut off deliveries of refined oil to North Korea.

Washington accused Pyongyang of smuggling in refined petroleum products beyond the annual quota of 500,000 barrels allowed under the UN sanctions. The hold delays action on the US request for six months.

The Russians and Chinese said they needed more time to examine Washington's allegations.

"We hope the relevant countries in the UN Security Council, can, based on solid evidence, make relevant decisions on whether to export oil" to North Korea, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said on Thursday.

North Korea has been under a raft of harsh UN sanctions since 2006 over its nuclear tests as well as multiple rocket and missile launches.

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