Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley met with South Korea’s foreign minister, Kang Kyung-wha, at the UN on Friday.
Pompeo urged patience in the process of negotiating serious changes with North Korea, saying the “path ahead is uneasy” and it “will take time.”
Despite the setbacks and some tension between the two countries, Pompeo told reporters he is hopeful and sees a “brighter future ahead” for North Korea.
Earlier this year, Pyongyang violated sanctions by selling weapons to Syria and Myanmar.
A Reuters report shows independent UN monitors found the North benefitted by $200 million in the sale of banned commodities, including shipping coal to Russia, China, Vietnam and Malaysia.
According to Newsweek, the UN monitors also found "40 unreported exports" to Syria's chemical weapons program.
Ambassador Haley reminded the UN of how far they have come with the North since then.
She ticked off the list of sanctions that have been in place over the past year, calling them a “Herculean task” by the sanctions committee.
Haley credits these sanctions, cooperation with the international community – which expelled diplomats – and thwarted clandestine communication with the North with the success of their mission.
All of these factors, coupled with President Donald Trump’s tough stance, “brought North Korea to the table,” said Haley.
Pointing to the president's June 12 summit with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un, the ambassador warned that the best way forward is to not waver in this process of getting the North “to respond to their promise to denuclearize.”
After the talks with the rogue nation, Mr. Trump famously tweeted that there was "no longer a nuclear threat from North Korea.”
Just landed - a long trip, but everybody can now feel much safer than the day I took office. There is no longer a Nuclear Threat from North Korea. Meeting with Kim Jong Un was an interesting and very positive experience. North Korea has great potential for the future!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 13, 2018
Haley says we need to see “action” before releasing the grip on the North Koreans and she admonished other countries to “hold tight” while the deal is in play.
But Haley and Pompeo may be fighting an uphill battle as some US allies are skirting the rules by engaging in ship to ship transfers of goods with the North.
Haley called on America's “friends” to stop doing business under the cloak of darkness, saying that the intelligence community has produced photographic evidence of at least 89 violations in international waters.
China and Russia blocked a call for a halt to all refined petroleum products to North Korea, a move which Haley considers counterproductive to the denuclearization process.
Ambassador Haley urged the UN to continue to “hold the line!”