Power visits to discuss likely sanctions

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Power visits to discuss likely sanctions

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Samantha Power, the U.S. envoy to the United Nations, visits the joint border village of Panmunjom on Sunday, accompanied by U.S. and Korean military officials amid growing speculation over North Korea’s military provocations on its founding anniversary of the Workers’ Party today. [JOINT PRESS CORPS]

U.S. Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power in her visit to South Korea confirmed that Washington is committed to using all and any measures feasible against North Korea’s nuclear advancement and provocations, a likely sign that stronger and additional sanctions from the international community may be levied upon the North for its fifth nuclear test last month.

“While the Security Council resolutions are one tool in our toolbox and a very important instrument of pressure,” Power said in a press conference in central Seoul on Sunday, “we are committed to using all the tools in our tool kit to address this serious threat, including the diplomatic pressure that we are mobilizing around the world to convince other nations to isolate the regime.”

“We understand that this is not only a threat to the U.S. and to the Republic of Korea but to the very foundation of our international order,” she added. “We are determined to stand with you in addressing this threat. Our resolve is unwavering; our commitment is ironclad. We are by your side.”

Earlier on Sunday, her second day in Korea, Power met with defectors at Hanawon in Anseong, Gyeonggi, where she also attended a church service with them. She is scheduled to visit the Nehemiah Korea Daum School, a school for defectors in Seocho District, southern Seoul, on Monday.

Government insiders said Power’s visit with the defectors could be seen as a message from the United States to highlight the North’s human rights abuses in pressing for additional sanctions on the regime.

North Korea conducted its fifth nuclear test on Sept. 9, its strongest to date and second this year, on the 68th anniversary of North Korea’s founding as a state.

Power’s visits also come one day before the North’s ruling Workers’ Party’s founding anniversary on Oct. 10, the date that experts and government suspect the North Korean regime may be panning another nuclear test or ballistic missile launch. Recent satellite photos suggested that North Korea’s Punggye-ri Nuclear Test Site could be preparing a sixth nuclear test.

Power’s interest in the human rights issues of North Korea also stems from her background. Prior to her post at the United Nations, Power served as special assistant to the president and senior director for multilateral affairs and human rights on the National Security Staff at the White House. Prior to this, Power taught at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, teaching courses ranging from U.S. foreign policy to human rights.

After her visit to Hanawon, Power stopped by Panmunjom at the inter-Korean border, where she was accompanied by Lt. Gen. Thomas Vandal, chief of staff for U.S. Forces Korea, and Col. Lee Seung-joon, secretary of the UN Command Military Armistice Commission.

According to government insiders, Power is scheduled to meet with Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se and Unification Minister Hong Yong-pyo on Monday, where the parties are expected to hash out their plans in responding to the North’s provocations and also deliberate on additional sanctions on the regime.

BY ESTHER CHUNG, YOO JI-HYE [chung.juhee@joongang.co.kr]

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