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Obama Renews Penalties Targeting North Korea

President Obama, left, greets Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday at the Group of 20 summit in Los Cabos, Mexico. The leaders pressed North Korea to meet prior nuclear disarmament pledges and to comply with U.N. Security Council prohibitions against the development of weapons of mass destruction (AP Photo/RIA Novosti). President Obama, left, greets Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday at the Group of 20 summit in Los Cabos, Mexico. The leaders pressed North Korea to meet prior nuclear disarmament pledges and to comply with U.N. Security Council prohibitions against the development of weapons of mass destruction (AP Photo/RIA Novosti).

U.S. President Obama on Monday notified Congress he was renewing for an additional year national penalties targeting North Korea due to the serious danger the aspiring nuclear power continues to represent to the United States, the Xinhua News Agency reported (see GSN, June 18).

A national emergency over North Korea's pursuit of a nuclear weapon was initially announced in June 2008; penalties against the country have been continued and deepened since then.

"The existence and risk of proliferation of weapons-usable fissile material on the Korean Peninsula and the actions and policies of the government of North Korea continue to pose an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security, foreign policy and economy of the United States," the president said in his statement to Congress (Xinhua News Agency/China Daily, June 19).

Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin following a summit in Los Cabos, Mexico, on Monday issued a bilateral statement urging Pyongyang to honor U.N. Security Council prohibitions against the development of weapons of mass destruction and to fulfill previous nuclear disarmament pledges agreed to in September 2005 in multinational talks, RIA Novosti reported.

The two heads of state also said they expected North Korea to refrain from hostile actions against the South. "We do not believe that any actions will be taken on North Korea's part that would lead to an escalation of tension on the Korean Peninsula," the two presidents said in their statement.

Russia and the United States along with China, Japan and the two Koreas make up the six-nation talks that are focused on permanently ending the North's nuclear weapons drive. The aid-for-denuclearization negotiations were last held in December 2008.

"As partners in the six-party negotiating process, we are ready to continue joint efforts to achieve the verifiable denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula in accordance with the [September 2005] joint declaration," Putin and Obama said (RIA Novosti, June 19).

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