Ex-U.S. ambassador calls for applying more pressure on N. Korea

WASHINGTON-- The United States should find more ways to pressure North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons program because the incentive to denuclearize has been reduced, a former U.S. ambassador to South Korea said Tuesday.

Mark Lippert, who served as the last U.S. ambassador to Seoul under former President Barack Obama, made the case during a discussion on the Korean Peninsula at the Center for Strategic and International Studies think tank, saying North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has shown a tendency to respond only to pressure.

"I think his incentives to make a deal have been reduced, and I think we've got to find a way to add more pressure," Lippert said, adding that he is cautious to make such a suggestion because it could lead the two countries down a dangerous path.

Previously, the ambassador said, there were "three legs of the pressure stool," meaning North Korea faced diplomatic isolation, possible military action and sanctions.

But after two summits between U.S. President Donald Trump and Kim, in June 2018 and February 2019, Lippert claimed, the first and second "legs" have largely been reduced, if not eliminated, with the North Korean leader traveling to China to meet with President Xi Jinping on his own terms, and military exercises between South Korea and the U.S. being scaled back.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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