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Rex Tillerson urges African nations to isolate Kim Jong-un amid tensions with North Korea

Saturday November 18, 2017

Mr Tillerson’s intervention has come after North Korean weapons earlier this week were seized aboard Iranian smuggling ships on their way to war-torn Somalia.

North Korea has repeatedly taken part in a series of illegal activities to fund its nuclear and missile programmes.

Speaking at a meeting with his counterparts from some 30 African countries, Mr Tillerson said: "The DPRK presents a threat to all of our nations.

"Everyone, including each country represented here today, must play a part in this peaceful pressure campaign to convince the DPRK that the only way to achieve true security and respect from the international community is to abandon its current path and choose a meaningful dialogue about a different future.

"I urge you to take additional measures to pressure the DPRK by downgrading your diplomatic relationships with the regime, severing economic ties, expelling all DPRK laborers, and reducing North Korea's presence in your country in all other ways it may be found.”

It is believed that the weapons discovered on their way to Somalia earlier this week were sent by Iran in an attempt to arm militants fighting in Somalia.

The ships were intercepted in the Arabian Sea by a French vessel.

It is understood that the intercepted Type 73 machine guns were manufactured in North Korea before being sold to Iran between 1970 and 1980.

Last month, a North Korea ship was also seized after it was caught carrying a huge supply of weapons to Egypt.

More than 30,000 rocket-propelled grenades discovered on board the freighter named the Jie Shun which the hermit kingdom had decorated with deceptive Cambodian colours.

Despot leader Kim Jong-un’s cargo was stopped in its tracks when the US warned Cairo about the incoming ship.

An investigation launched by the United Nations found that Pyongyang had good relations with Egyptian business executives who had ordered millions of dollars worth of North Korean weaponry.

The monumental weapons supply was disguised under bins of iron ore that were used as a front for the hugely destructive delivery.

Last month, Rex Tillerson praised political partners to the US from across the globe for helping to deliver the toughest UN sanctions to date on North Korea.

He added: "Countries must increasingly decide whether they will do business with North Korea or with the community of peace loving nations."


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