US warns Russia and China against sanctions violations

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has warned Russia, China and other countries against any violation of international sanctions on North Korea that could reduce pressure on Pyongyang to abandon its nuclear weapons.

His comments came on the heels of a new United Nations report that found North Korea has not stopped its nuclear and missile programmes and is violating UN sanctions, including through illicit ship-to-ship transfers of oil.

Speaking on the sidelines of an Asian security forum in Singapore, Mr Pompeo said the US has new, credible reports that Russia is violating UN sanctions by allowing joint ventures with North Korean companies and issuing new permits for North Korean guest workers.

He said Washington would take “very seriously” any violations, and called for them to be roundly condemned and reversed.

“If these reports prove accurate, and we have every reason to believe that they are, that would be in violation,” Mr Pompeo said, noting that the UN Security Council had voted unanimously in favour of the sanctions.

“I want to remind every nation that has supported these resolutions that this is a serious issue and something we will discuss with Moscow,” he said.

“We expect the Russians and all countries to abide to the UN Security Council resolutions and enforce sanctions on North Korea.

“Any violation that detracts from the world’s goal of finally, fully denuclearising North Korea would be something that America would take very seriously.”

During a group photo at the ASEAN Regional Forum ministerial meeting later on Saturday, Mr Pompeo went to greet North Korean foreign minister Ri Yong Ho.

They shook hands and briefly exchanged smiles and a few words before Mr Pompeo went back to his original position.