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US Urges North Korea to Halt Nuclear Program, Seek Talks

Minister of Foreign Affairs Yun Byung-se of South Korea, left, Minister of Foreign Affairs Fumio Kishida of Japan, and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry stand for a photo during a meeting between the three leaders Sunday, Sept. 18, 2016, in New York .
US Urges North Korea to Halt Nuclear Program, Seek Talks
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United States Secretary of State John Kerry has urged North Korea to stop its nuclear and ballistic weapons development programs.

Kerry met with South Korean foreign affairs minister Yun Byung-se and Japanese foreign affairs minister Fumio Kishida on Sunday in New York. He said, “Serious negotiations about the future could occur if North Korea does not engage in any more provocative actions.”

The three nations are part of a multi-national group seeking to get North Korea to end its nuclear program. The group also includes China and Russia. However, so-called six party talks including all the countries involved have not taken place since 2008.

Satellite images have shown that North Korea is ready to carry out more nuclear weapons tests, which could take place at any time.

South Korea’s foreign minister, Yun Byung-se, warned that North Korea’s weapons are not only a threat to Northeast Asia, but are a danger to the whole world.

He called for greater sanctions on North Korea and said that the current U.N. General Assembly needs to “send out a united and forceful message.”

Yun also said South Korea, the U.S. and Japan need to stop North Korea’s nuclear program by “whatever means we have.”

Japan’s foreign minister, Fumio Kishida, also called for greater pressure, including sanctions, against North Korea. He said the international community is “required to initiate a different response accordingly” because of the growing threat from North Korea. But he did not explain what actions would be taken.

The three countries released a joint statement after the meeting. It said that the ministers agreed to explore "ways to work together to ensure that all countries fully and effectively implement all their obligations and commitments under U.N. Security Council (resolution) 2270.”

That resolution places strong sanctions on North Korea for its nuclear and long-range missile programs.

I’m Mario Ritter.

VOA's Steve Herman reported this story from New York City. Patrick Merentie adapted the report for Learning English. Mario Ritter was the editor.

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Words in This Story

ballistic – adj. able to travel long distances at high speed

occur – v. to happen, to take place

engage – v. to take part, to carry out

provocative – adj. meant to cause a reaction

sanctions – n. measures meant to cause a country to obey international law