US envoy to UN to visit Korean border, North Korean defectors

US envoy to UN to visit Korean border, North Korean defectors


Thomas-Greenfield's trip will also include a stop in Japan

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SEOUL (Reuters) - The US ambassador to the United Nations will travel to the heavily armed Korean border and meet North Korean defectors in South Korea, her office said on Monday, amid faltering UN efforts to ensure sanctions enforcement against the North.

Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield's trip, set for April 14-20, came after Russia rejected the annual renewal of the multinational panel of experts which has over the past 15 years worked on the implementation of UN sanctions aimed at curbing North Korea's nuclear and missile programmes.

Washington, Seoul and Tokyo criticised Moscow's veto and China's abstention, which experts said would undermine the sanctions enforcement, with a South Korean envoy likening it to "destroying a CCTV to avoid being caught red-handed."

Thomas-Greenfield's trip, which will also include a stop in Japan, was meant to advance bilateral and trilateral cooperation on the sanctions and beyond, US mission to the UN spokesperson Nate Evans said.

Both South Korea and Japan are currently members of the Security Council.

"In both countries, Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield will discuss next steps to ensure a continuation of independent and accurate reporting of the DPRK's ongoing weapons proliferation and sanctions evasion activities," Evans said in a statement, referring to North Korea by its official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

In South Korea, Thomas-Greenfield will travel to the heavily fortified Demilitarised Zone between the two Koreas, meet young North Korean defectors as well as students at Ewha Womans University, Evans said.

In Japan, she will also meet family members of Japanese citizens who were abducted in the early 2000s by North Korea, and visit Nagasaki, which was hit by US nuclear bombing in 1945.