Bolstered by new U.N. sanctions, the United States and North Korea's neighbors are joining in a fresh attempt to isolate Pyongyang over its nuclear and missile programs, in a global campaign cheered on by U.S. President Donald Trump.
South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha met with US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono in Manila on the sidelines of meetings hosted by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.
The security conference in the Philippine capital was dominated by the rising threat posed by North Korea's rapid advances in nuclear and ballistic missile technology.
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi says he urged his North Korean counterpart to abide by United Nations resolutions and stop provoking "the worldwide community's goodwill" with missile launches and nuclear tests. In a joint statement at the end of a meeting of their foreign ministers in Manila, the three countries said new sanctions on North Korea should be strictly implemented.
The UN Security Council on Saturday unanimously passed new sanctions that could strip Kim Jong-un's regime of $3 billion in export revenue annually.
The other mounting concern: that by the time the sanctions really start cutting into the North's economy, potentially changing the government's thinking about the wisdom of pursuing nuclear weapons, it may be too late.
"There is no bigger mistake than the United States believing that its land is safe across the ocean", a statement from the official North Korean state news agency declared.
But Tillerson says it's not as simple as North Korea stopping launches for a few days or weeks.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says if the North stops testing missiles for an "extended period", the US might deem North Korea ready to talk.
"We will be monitoring that carefully and certainly having conversations with any and all that we see who may not be fully embracing not just the spirit of those sanctions but the operational execution of those sanctions", Tillerson said. Testing an ICBM marks a major military achievement for Pyongyang and a serious escalation of tensions with the United States and its allies in the region, particularly South Korea and Japan. Last week, the head of North Korea's parliament arrived in Tehran for a trip that was widely seen as a front for expanded military cooperation. But he says it won't be a matter of a mere 30-day pause leading to the US being willing to talk. "China and Russian Federation voted with us".
"The fundamental reason for THAAD deployment is for our national interest and for the sake of our national security", Tang said, referring to Seoul's Terminal High Altitude Area Defense supplied by the U.S.
Defense experts say the ICBM could reach as far as the U.S. states of Alaska and Hawaii, but questions remain over whether North Korea can field an ICBM capable of carrying a nuclear warhead on its cone that could survive reentry into earth's atmosphere.
"They're nearly going from sanctions to embargo and really trying to slam the North Korean economy", Delury said. Beforehand, he had called at the Security Council for countries to cut diplomatic and financial ties with Pyongyang.