- Title: Nuclear, missile tests show 'qualitative' improvement in N.Korea capabilities-US
- Date: 6th January 2017
- Summary: WASHINGTON, D.C., UNITED STATES (JANUARY 5, 2017) (REUTERS) WIDE OF NEWS CONFERENCE (SOUNDBITE) (English) ANTONY BLINKEN- DEPUTY SECRETARY OF STATE SAYING: "What we've seen over the last year in particular, two nuclear tests and a truly unprecedented level of missile tests, 24 and even if these tests don't achieve their objective, even a so-called failure is progress because the North Koreans learn from every single test. They apply what they have learned to their technology and to the next test and in our assessment we have seen a qualitative improvement in their capabilities over the last year as a result of this unprecedented level of activity." WIDE OF SOUTH KOREAN, AMERICAN AND JAPANESE REPRESENTATIVES (SOUNDBITE) (English) ANTONY BLINKEN -U.S. DEPUTY SECRETARY OF STATE SAYING: "With every passing day, the threat does get more acute and you heard what the North Korean leader said in his most recent remarks about the possibility of testing an intercontinental ballistic missile, so our cooperation together and with other countries in making sure that we have in place the best possible defenses is critical and that will remain going forward. But, at the same time, it's absolutely vitally important that we exercise sustained comprehensive pressure on North Korea to get it to stop these programs, to come back to the negotiating table and to engage in good faith on denuclearization. Over the past year we have strengthened sanctions and other types of pressure and other types of sanctions to truly unprecedented levels, things that we have not seen at all in the past, and these efforts are making it more difficult for the regime to earn the hard currency that it needs to support its nuclear weapons programs, but also sending a very clear message that the international community simply will not accept North Korea as a nuclear power." WIDE OF NEWS CONFERENCE (SOUNDBITE) (Korean) LIM SUNG-NAM-SOUTH KOREAN FIRST VICE FOREIGN MINISTER SAYING: (ROUGH TRANSLATION) "In his new year's speech, Kim Jong Un expressed his strong will to strengthen their nuclear program and stated that North Korea was in its final stage of testing ICPN. As such, North Korea directly challenges the international community's call for denuclearization, thus, Korea, the United States and Japan agree to strengthen our collaborative efforts to induce North Korea to go for denuclearization. Over the past couple of years, the vice ministers of the three countries have actively communicated with each other more than ever before." PEOPLE LISTENING (SOUNDBITE) (Japanese) SHINSUKE SUGIYAMA JAPANESE VICE FOREIGN MINISTER SAYING: (ROUGH TRANSLATION) "Despite the fact that the U.S. is in a political transition, and despite the current domestic political situation in the Republic of Korea, our trilateral unity is unshaken, there are absolutely no gaps for North Korea to exploit. Today we had very close consultation and we reaffirmed that Japan, the U.S. and the Republic of Korea will respond firmly to any North Korean provocation." WIDE IF TRILATERAL NEWS CONFERENCE
- Embargoed: 21st January 2017 00:34
- Keywords: North Korea nuclear missile Tony Blinken Lim Sung-nam Shinsuke Sugiyama
- Location: WASHINGTON, D.C., UNITED STATES
- City: WASHINGTON, D.C., UNITED STATES
- Country: USA
- Topics: Diplomacy/Foreign Policy,Government/Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA0015XT2QMF
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: The United States said on Thursday (January 5) North Korea had demonstrated a "qualitative" improvement in its nuclear and missile capabilities after an unprecedented level of tests last year, showing the need to sustain pressure on Pyongyang to bring it back to disarmament negotiations.
U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken told a joint news conference after a meeting with his Japanese and South Korean counterparts that North Korea had conducted 24 missile tests in the past year, as well as two nuclear tests, and learned from each one.
"Even a so-called failure is progress because ... they apply what they have learned to their technology and to the next test. And in our assessment, we have a qualitative improvement in their capabilities in the past year as a result of this unprecedented level of activity," he said.
"With every passing day the threat does get more acute," Blinken said, and referred to comments by North Korea's leader, Kim Jong Un, on Sunday that his country was close to test-launching an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) of a kind that could someday hit the United States.
Blinken said it was vital for the United States, Japan, South Korea and other countries to boost cooperation to defend against the threat.
"At the same time, it's absolutely vitally important that we exercise sustained comprehensive pressure on North Korea to get it to stop these programs, to come back to the negotiating table, and to engage in good faith on denuclearization," Blinken said.
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