Speaking at a plenary sitting of the European Parliament, MEP for Estonia Urmas Paet (Reform/ALDE) said that however unfortunate, sanctions are currently the most important instrument to change the hostile behavior of North Korea. Paet also said he is hoping China will also join them.
"North Korea has for a long time been a country with a very poor human rights situation, which at the same time in a military capacity is ambitious, aggressive and hostile towards neighbors South Korea and Japan," Paet said in his statement. "North Korea has the fourth largest army in the world and the risk of nuclear weapons has also been added to that. The world has condemned the activity of North Korea by imposing sanctions. It is important that China has also joined the sanctions," he added.
According to Paet, North Korea's neighbors South Korea and Japan are anticipating the planned meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un with cautious optimism. "At the same time, it is nevertheless unlikely that anything remarkable is achieved with one meeting. It is a fact that North Korea has succeeded in attracting the attention of President Trump solely due to its increasing nuclear capability and it would be difficult for North Korea to abandon that privilege easily," Paet said.
"The European Union, United States, China and other countries cannot withdraw from the sanctions before North Korea has significantly altered its behavior and abandoned the nuclear program and ended the violation of human rights," he said.
"The European Union can ensure that sanctions remain and that member states follow them," Paet said. "We must also make an effort to ensure that China continues with the sanctions until North Korea abandons its nuclear weapons ambition and end the violation of human rights. Sanctions are the most important instruments as they impact the economy of North Korea and with that the behavior of the country," Paet added.
In conclusion, the MEP emphasized that nuclear weapons are not the only problem when it comes to North Korea. "The serious violations of human rights in the country and North Korea's aggressive behavior toward its neighboring countries, especially South Korea and Japan, must also end," Paet said.
Editor: Dario Cavegn