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Pompeo says Russia is in breach of sanctions against North Korea

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks during a press conference at the State Department in Washington, DC, September 14, 2018. (Photo by AFP)

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has accused Russia of working to undermine economic sanctions imposed on North Korea, arguing that implementing the bans is the only way to force Pyongyang to give up its nuclear weapons.

“Russia has actively attempted to undermine the UN Security Council resolutions, the work of the ... committee at the UN that evaluates compliance with sanctions," Pompeo said at a news briefing at the State Department on Friday.

The top diplomat made the remarks a day after US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley leveled similar charges against Moscow and accused the Kremlin of seeking to cover up its violations by trying to make changes into an independent report on sanctions breaches.

Pompeo said he hoped the UN sanctions committee would publish the original document.

He added that Washington was committed to UN Security Council resolutions against North Korea's nuclear weapons and ballistic missile tests.

Pompeo said the resolutions played a central role in President Donald Trump's efforts to convince North Korean leader Kim Jong-un that “full, final denuclearization of the Korean peninsula is necessary."

He noted that Washington was constantly talking to Pyongyang about "how to effectuate achieving all of the commitments made" at the June 12 summit between Trump and Kim in Singapore.

Pyongyang has toned down its ballistic missiles and nuclear weapons programs to de-escalate tensions with the US and its regional allies.

While Russia and China have called on the UNSC to discuss easing sanctions after the historic Trump-Kim summit, Washington thinks the sanctions must be strictly enforced until Pyongyang takes the necessary steps.

Two US military officials told CNN this week that Washington and its allies were days away from launching a new effort to "name and shame" Pyongyang’s violations of sanctions aimed at curbing its nuclear and missile programs.

On Thursday, Washington introduced sanctions against a China-based technology firm, its North Korean chief executive and a Russian subsidiary, accusing them of violating US sanctions by moving funding to North Korea.

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