Chancellor on North Korea

We should endeavour to achieve a diplomatic solution

In the crisis triggered by North Korea’s hydrogen bomb test, there can only be a "peaceful, diplomatic solution," said Merkel. Earlier, she had advocated harsher sanctions against the country in telephone conversations with the Presidents of the USA, France and South Korea.

North Korea’s actions are a "flagrant breach of all conventions". Only a "peaceful, diplomatic solution" is possible, reasserted Chancellor Angela Merkel on Tuesday in a speech in the German Bundestag. Europe has "an important voice in the world" and it should use this to bring about a peaceful solution to the conflict, she continued.

Clear position of the United Nations Security Council correct

In the German Bundestag, the Chancellor also pointed to her conversations with the South Korean President Moon Jae-in and US President Donald Trump, both of whom support Europe’s efforts to achieve a peaceful solution.

Angela Merkel also announced that the EU ministers of foreign affairs will soon meet to discuss the North Korean crisis. The informal meeting will be held on 7 and 8 September in the Estonian capital, Tallinn. The Chancellor also considers it right that the United Nations Security Council has adopted a clear position on this conflict.

On Sunday (3 September) the Chancellor talked to French President Emmanuel Macron by telephone about the North Korea crisis. On Monday (4 September) this was followed by telephone conversations with South Korean President Moon Jae-in and US President Donald Trump, as well as a conversation with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Tuesday (5 September). The Chancellor announced that she would be holding further talks in order to identify a common position on the tightening of sanctions by the United Nations and the EU.

Angela Merkel and Donald Trump speak of unacceptable escalation

Angela Merkel and Donald Trump agreed that the test of a hydrogen bomb was "a new and unacceptable escalation" on the part of the North Korean regime. Steffen Seibert, federal government spokesperson, announced this on Monday evening. The international community must step up pressure on the regime in North Korea. The United Nations Security Council must swiftly adopt further-reaching and tighter sanctions, he said.

In her telephone conversation with President Trump the Chancellor confirmed that Germany will work within the European Union for new, harsher sanctions to be imposed on North Korea. The goal remains to persuade North Korea to move away from its unlawful actions and to achieve a peaceful solution to the conflict, said Steffen Seibert.

Solidarity with South Korea

Earlier the Chancellor spoke by telephone with South Korean President Moon Jae-in. She assured him and the South Korean people of her solidarity. As the direct neighbour of North Korea, South Korea is particularly threatened by North Korea’s escalation, reported Steffen Seibert following the conversation.

The Chancellor and the President condemned the new provocation on the part of the regime in Pyongyang, which marks a new dimension of the conflict. "In view of the intransigent and confrontational attitude of North Korea, the Chancellor and the President both advocated that the international community swiftly adopt further-reaching and harsher sanctions," said Steffen Seibert.

Close consultation and coordination among partners is important in this context. The common goal is still to avoid military escalation and achieve a peaceful solution.

Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron agree the EU must act

On Sunday Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron condemned North Korea’s most recent nuclear test in the strongest possible terms. "This latest provocation on the part of the leader in Pyongyang has reached a new dimension," they announced following a telephone conversation.

They agreed that North Korea is trampling international law and that the international community must thus achieve a resolute and unified response. "Alongside the United Nations Security Council, the European Union must act," said the Chancellor and the President. In this context they also advocated tightening the EU’s sanctions on North Korea.

Flagrant breach of international law

Federal Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel declared that the reports of another nuclear test in North Korea caused him great concern. "Should these reports be verified it would be another flagrant breach of international law and of the resolutions of the United Nations Security Council."With this test North Korea is intentionally fuelling the already highly tense situation on the Korean peninsula. "The regime is once again demonstrating that it is a serious threat to world peace," said Sigmar Gabriel. He is certain that the United Nations Security Council will once again resolutely take the necessary steps. Germany will be consulting with its EU partners on a response.

The Federal Foreign Minister also pointed to the importance of the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty and the underlying international monitoring mechanism. The worldwide network of measuring stations was first to register and notify the unusually high level of seismic activity.