US prepares for largest package of sanctions against North Korea
The United States is due to announce its largest package of sanctions against North Korea to pressure the country into giving up its nuclear and missile programmes.
It's as South Korea readies itself for further talks with its leaders.
Tougher sanctions may jeopardise the latest detente between the two Koreas, illustrated by the North's participation in the Winter Olympics in the South, amid preparations for talks about a possible summit between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in.
A senior U.S. administration official, who spoke to Reuters on condition of anonymity, called the new penalties "the largest package of new sanctions against the North Korea regime", without giving details.
U.S. Vice President Mike Pence had hinted at such a plan two weeks ago during a stop in Tokyo that preceded his visit to South Korea for the Pyeongchang Olympics.
North Korea last year conducted dozens of missile launches and its sixth and largest nuclear test in defiance of U.N. Security Council resolutions as it pursues its goal of developing a nuclear-armed missile capable of reaching the United States. It defends the weapons programmes as essential to deter U.S. aggression.
But it has been more than two months since its last missile test.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said he wants to boost the "warm climate of reconciliation and dialogue" with South Korea, which hosts 28,500 U.S. troops, after a high-level delegation, including his sister, returned from the Olympics.
In an extension of that rapprochement, the North agreed on Friday to hold working-level talks on Tuesday for the Pyeongchang Winter Paralympics on the North's side of the border village of Panmunjom.Published: by Radio NewsHub