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North Korea is clear and present danger says Balakrishnan

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In an NPR interview, Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan said Singapore is deeply worried with North Korea, which he said “is a clear and present danger. And the risk…” when asked by the NPR host how does Singapore see the threat from North Korea.

The threat from North Korea has the Trump administration trying to circle the wagons with its allies in Southeast Asia, said NPR.

The U.S. is asking those countries to strictly enforce economic sanctions against the North and to keep diplomatic relations with Pyongyang to a minimum.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson raised these issues in Washington yesterday during a meeting with foreign ministers representing the Association of South East Asian Nations and among them was Vivian Balakrishnan.

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Balakrishnan said the tensions have escalated and if there’s any miscalculation on either side, we’re looking at some pretty horrendous consequences.

“So we are worried.

The host said Singapore has diplomatic relations with Pyongyang, thus what message is your government conveying to North Korea through that mechanism about its nuclear.

The minister replied that Singapore have repeatedly urged North Korea to fully comply with the United Nations Security Council resolutions.

“On our part and on the part of all Southeast Asian nations, we intend to fully comply with all those resolutions.

“So there will be economic pressure, but it’s really – I don’t want to trivialize or make it seem simple. This is a very complex issue, and it will take time to resolve.

He also said Singapore does not have a mission in Pyongyang but there’s a couple of North Korean diplomats in Singapore, thus relations with North Korea is at a very minimal level.
“What we need is for good sense to prevail, for caution to be exercised on all sides. And really, the country with the most leverage on North Korea is China.

“So it all depends on how much China is willing to do,” he said on the future handling of the situation.

On a Singapore based company’s links with North Korean firms involved in arms trade, Balakrishnan said Singapore will not tolerate such links and the country will investigate fully all such allegations, and we’ll take the necessary actions.

http://www.npr.org/2017/05/05/527013813/how-singapore-sees-the-threat-from-north-korea – © 2017 npr

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