Germany would lend its weight to a diplomatic push to end North Korean nuclear weapons and missile development along the lines of a past deal with Iran, Chancellor Angela Merkel said today. “I would say yes immediately if we were asked to join talks,” Merkel told weekly newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung. Talks between Iran and six world powers, sealed with a 2015 deal for Tehran to roll back its nuclear programme and submit to inspections in exchange for some sanctions being rolled back, were “a long but important period of diplomacy” that had achieved a “good end,” she added. “I could imagine such a format for the settlement of the North Korea conflict. Europe and especially Germany ought to be ready to make a very active contribution,” Merkel said.
The chancellor said she had held telephone talks with the leaders of France, the United States, China, South Korea and Japan about the North Korea crisis over the past week, and is expected to speak with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Merkel’s comments come as Washington has formally requested a Monday vote on tough new sanctions for Pyongyang at the UN Security Council. US diplomats have called for an oil embargo, an assets freeze against leader Kim Jong-Un, a ban on textiles and an end to payments of North Korean guest workers in response to the nation’s sixth nuclear test last week. But the measures could founder on opposition from permanent Security Council members Russia and China. Merkel said that she backed sanctions as a means of bringing North Korea to the negotiating table.