South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in and US President Donald Trump vow to increase pressure on Pyongyang to further isolate the country as US-ally Kuwait gives North Korea’s ambassador a month to leave the Gulf state.

South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in and US President Donald Trump have agreed to exert stronger pressure through sanctions on North Korea following its nuclear and missile tests, South Korea’s presidential office said following a telephone call between the two leaders on Sunday.

It came after Pyongyang’s latest launch on Friday, sending a missile over Japan for the second time in under a month.

“The two leaders agreed to exert stronger and practical sanctions on North Korea so that the North Korean regime realises provocative actions lead to further diplomatic isolation and economic pressure and eventually enter the path of collapse,” South Korea’s presidential office spokesman Park Su-hyun said.

The Blue House said Moon and Trump agreed that the two nations would work with the international community to implement the latest UN Security Council’s resolution 2375, Park added.

The Council stepped up sanctions against Pyongyang earlier this month, imposing a ban on North Korea’s textile exports and capping its imports of crude oil.

Taking it to the Pentagon

The US ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said on Sunday that the UN Security Council has run out of options on containing North Korea’s nuclear program and the United States may have to turn the matter over to the Pentagon.

“We have pretty much exhausted all the things that we can do at the Security Council at this point,” Haley told CNN’s State of the Union, adding that she was perfectly happy to hand the matter to Defense Secretary James Mattis.

“We’re trying every other possibility that we have but there’s a whole lot of military options on the table.”

Kuwait to downgrade diplomatic relations 

US-ally Kuwait has given North Korea’s ambassador a month to leave the Gulf state and will downgrade its diplomatic representation with Pyongyang, a senior Kuwaiti diplomat told AFP Sunday.

The measures follow a visit less than two weeks ago by Kuwait Emir Sheikh Sabah al Ahmad al Sabah to Washington.

North Korea’s diplomatic presence in the emirate will also be reduced to a charge d’affaires and three diplomats, the source told AFP, requesting anonymity.

The source said Kuwait will not renew permits given to North Korean workers to re-enter the country after projects they are currently working on are completed “within one or two years”.

There are between 2,000 and 2,500 North Korean workers in Kuwait, and thousands more are believed to be working in other Gulf states.

Kuwait has also decided to stop issuing visas to North Koreans and suspend all trade relations and flight links with Pyongyang.

Asian diplomatic sources have told AFP that South Korea and Japan have been putting pressure on Gulf states to stop employing North Korean workers because the money they sent home was benefiting the North.

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