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Regime change only way to stop North Korea: Armitage

2016/12/06 01:22

WASHINGTON, Dec. 5 (Yonhap) -- Regime change is the only way to get North Korea off the current path, a former top American diplomat said Monday.

Richard Armitage, former deputy secretary of state, made the point during a security forum, saying he no longer believes it's possible to change Pyongyang's behavior without a regime change.

"I, like some of the others around here, for years spent a lot of time talking about ... we don't really want regime change in North Korea. We just want to change the regime, their behavior change. We're not looking to interfere with the leadership of the DPRK," Armitage said.

"I no longer hold that view. The only way in my view that North Korea can be dissuaded from their present path is by a regime change," he said during the forum on the Korea-U.S. alliance at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS).

Armitage also said that the U.S. should put greater pressure on the North over its human rights record and cut the regime off the international financial system.

"In my experience dealing with North Korea, two things have made an impression on them. One was the human rights security council resolution ... and our interference in the finances of North Korea in the Macau bank," he said.

He was apparently referring to the 2014 U.N. General Assembly resolution on the North's human rights abuses as well as the 2005 U.S. financial sanctions on a Macau bank that almost cut off the North from the international banking system.

Armitage also said that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is likely to undertake additional provocations, such as nuclear or missile tests, in response to last week's imposition of U.N. Security Council sanctions aimed at choking off major revenue sources.

"It is beyond my belief that Kim Jong-un won't respond in some way to the imposition of these sanctions, whether it's another nuclear test, whether it's a missile test, I don't know, but it is incomprehensible to me that he would not respond in some way if you follow the way that he has acted up to this point," he said.

jschang@yna.co.kr

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