Govt has severed all trade with N Korea, Prayut says
by Aekarach Sattaburuth
December 13, 2017
Thailand has cut off all trade with North Korea to comply with a United Nations Security Council resolution over the rogue state's repeated missile tests, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha says.
He said the nation has banned North Korean ships from docking at Thai ports and commodities trading has ceased, including coal.
"Thailand is following the UN resolution and we are not doing this alone but rather with Asean members. We are not the leading actor, this is the resolve of Asean," he said.
The premier was speaking ahead of a two-day visit to Bangkok by Joseph Yun, the US special representative for North Korea policy, starting tomorrow.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Don Pramudwinai said Mr Yun will exchange ideas on policies relating to tensions on the Korean Peninsula.
Thailand has in the past served as a facilitator for US-North Korean talks.
US embassy spokeswoman Jillian Bonnardeaux said Mr Yun will meet local officials from various agencies in the Thai capital.
The US Department of State released a media note on Friday saying Mr Yun will travel to Japan and Thailand from Monday "to discuss ways to strengthen the pressure campaign following the DPRK's latest ballistic missile test".
Washington hopes to see the DPRK "return to credible talks on denuclearisation", it added.
Tensions have risen markedly in recent months over North Korea's development of nuclear-tipped missiles capable of reaching the US mainland. It has done this in defiance of several rounds of UN sanctions.
Last week's missile test prompted a warning from Washington that North Korea's leadership would be "utterly destroyed" if war were to break out.
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US envoy to visit Bangkok to discuss N Korea nuclear row
by Wasamon Audjarint
December 13, 2017
The US special envoy for North Korea will probably meet Deputy Foreign Minister Veerasak Futrakul late this week to discuss denuclearisation, amid escalated tensions in the Korean Peninsula, according to diplomatic sources yesterday.
The US Embassy in Bangkok confirmed that Joseph Yun, special representative for North Korea policy, will visit Thailand tomorrow and Friday to add weight to the US campaign against North Korea’s latest missile test.
Yun’s agenda while in Bangkok is not officially settled. It is not known who he will meet besides Veerasak.
Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha yesterday did not directly mention Yun’s visit but reiterated that Thailand always follows United Nations Security Council resolutions.
“There has been no selling, no buying and no trading to the point that we can barely move,” Prayut said during his weekly press briefing.
His remarks also countered a recent report by a US-based think tank that Thailand is among 20 countries providing assistance for North Korean shipments.
A source at the Commerce Ministry, meanwhile, said Thailand had strictly followed the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolution on North Korea and if the US requested Thailand to impose sanctions beyond the UNSC resolution there needs to be further approval by the Thai government.
Released last Tuesday, a report from the Institute for Science and International Security says that 49 countries were found to commit acts in violation of sanctions designated in the UNSC resolutions.
Denying the report, Prayut stressed that Thailand has long ago stopped any North Korean shipments from landing in the Kingdom.Thailand had maintained a 45-year tie with North Korea but has toned it down following the Asean consensus to abide by the UNSC resolutions.
While restaurants operated by the North Korean government were functioning in Bangkok earlier this year, the trade value for the first nine months of this year is down to Bt52 million, a 94-per cent drop year-on-year.
The US has campaigned actively and aggressively for sanctions against North Korea.Announcing a series of successes on nuclear developments this year, North Korea recently tested a Hwasong-15, an advanced version of the intercontinental ballistic missile it launched in July.
AFP reported that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson met Prayut in Bangkok in August. Tillerson’s goal was to push Thailand to shut down all North Korean business operations in Thailand and tone down diplomatic ties as much as possible.
At a meeting between Donald Trump and Prayut in October, the US president encouraged Thailand, as a regional Asia-Pacific country, to be firm against North Korea.
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