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Merkel and Trump agree on tougher North Korea sanctions


German Chancellor Angela Merkel/ AFP PHOTO / John MACDOUGALL

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and US President Donald Trump on Monday agreed to push for further sanctions against North Korea after Pyongyang’s latest nuclear test, Merkel’s office said.

The two leaders during a phone call “shared the view that the international community needs to increase pressure on the North Korean regime and that the UN Security Council must swifty adopt new and harsher sanctions,” a spokesman said in a statement.

North Korea on Sunday triggered global alarm when it detonated what it described as a hydrogen bomb designed for a long-range missile.

The underground blast had a yield of between 50 and 100 kilotons, or on average more than five times more powerful than the bomb detonated over Hiroshima, UN political affairs chief Jeffrey Feltman told the Security Council on Monday.

Merkel’s office said she and Trump agreed to seek additional European support for tougher sanctions on Pyongyang.

“The aim of this is to find a peaceful solution to the crisis,” the spokesman said.

Washington’s UN envoy Nikki Haley told the Security Council in New York on Monday that a fresh round of sanctions could target oil supplies to North Korea — a potential major blow to the reclusive state’s economy.

New sanctions could also seek to curb tourism to North Korea and ban North Korean labourers sent abroad, mostly to Russia and China, to earn hard currency for the regime, diplomats said.

The draft text was expected to be presented to the 14 other council members on Tuesday as the United States sought to respond quickly to reports that North Korea was preparing another missile launch.

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