Finding new ways to de-escalate the situation

North Korea crisis Finding new ways to de-escalate the situation

Germany is ready to take part in discussions about seeking a solution to the current North Korea crisis if it is asked to do so, Chancellor Merkel said at the weekend. Government Spokesman Steffen Seibert said that "new ways of seeking a peaceful solution" needed to be found.

Meeting of the United Nations Security Council, UNSC

The United Nations Security Council has further tightened sanctions North Korea

Photo: UN Photo/Mark Garten

Government Spokesman Steffen Seibert said at the government press conference on Monday that the current escalation of the crisis "was triggered by a quick succession of North Korean provocations". Each one of these provocations "was in breach of United Nations Security Council resolutions and thus in breach of international law," Seibert said.

Seeking to tighten sanctions

Steffen Seibert went on to say that Chancellor Merkel was lobbying at international level for a further tightening of sanctions against North Korea. She had discussed the matter in numerous telephone conversations with her counterparts in Paris, Tokyo, Beijing and Washington, D.C. Angela Merkel had also spoken to Russia's President Vladimir Putin by telephone, Seibert said.

The general consensus in all these conversations had been that the conflict over North Korea's nuclear armament had to be resolved by peaceful means. To enable such a peaceful solution to be found pressure on North Korea needed to be stepped up by tightening sanctions. That was what the Federal Government advocated, the Government Spokesman said.

UN Security Council steps up pressure on North Korea

Following numerous diplomatic efforts, the United Nations Security Council adopted a resolution on Monday evening containing fresh, tighter sanctions against North Korea. The measures included a ban on the country's textile exports, up until now its most important source of foreign currency, and a cap on crude oil imports of 2 million barrels per year.

No concrete request for mediation

Steffen Seibert told reporters that the Federal Government had not yet received a concrete request for Germany to take on a mediatory role. However, should the opportunity "for informal or even formal talks with North Korea" arise, then Germany "was ready, in consultation with its partners, to support discussions to seek suitable ways of finding a peaceful solution to the crisis".

Diplomatic ties useful

Germany had an embassy in North Korea and was thus "one of only very few countries" with diplomatic ties with the country, Seibert said. That was why the Chancellor "had offered to help in seeking new ways to de-escalate the situation".