(2nd LD) U.S. envoy meets FM Cho in Seoul after Russia’s veto on U.N. panel monitoring N.K. sanctions

The top U.S. envoy to the United Nations met with Foreign Minister Cho Tae-yul in Seoul on Monday for discussions that have likely centered on exploring alternatives after Russia's veto on renewing the U.N. expert panel monitoring sanctions on North Korea. Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield's meeting with Cho took place as part of her four-day visit to South Korea, during which she is also expected to meet with senior government officials in Seoul to discuss cooperation in the U.N. Security Council. She arrived in South Korea on Sunday. "It was very productive and I look forward to continuing those discussions over the course of the next two days," Thomas-Greenfield told reporters as she left the foreign ministry building. Later Monday, the U.S. envoy met with Defense Minister Shin Won-sik and expressed concern over Russia's recent veto, noting that it could create lapses in implementing U.N. Security Council sanctions resolutions on the North, according to Seoul's defense ministry. The U.S. envoy expla ined that Washington is making efforts to ensure that an alternative credible report on North Korean sanctions can continue to be produced, and expressed hopes for support from South Korea, it said. The U.S. envoy called North Korea's advancement of its nuclear and ballistic missile programs violations of U.N. Security Council resolutions, and an illegal act that undermines the universal values of the international community. The two sides also expressed concern over increasing uncertainty in the global security situation, and agreed to cooperate to push for projects connected to the U.N. Security Council resolutions, according to the ministry. Her visit came after Russia last month vetoed the U.N.'s annual renewal of an expert panel monitoring the North's compliance with U.N. sanctions. North Korea has been under tightened U.N. sanctions, which call for, among other things, a ban on the country's exports of coal and other mineral resources to cut off North Korea's access to hard currency. With the veto, the panel's mandate is set to expire April 30, a termination that observers say could chip away at international efforts to curb evolving North Korean nuclear and missile threats. During her trip, the U.S. envoy will also travel to the Demilitarized Zone separating the two Koreas, meet young North Korean defectors and speak with students at Ewha Womans University before heading to Japan on Wednesday. It marks Thomas-Greenfield's first visit to Seoul, and the first trip by a U.S. ambassador to the U.N. since 2016. Source: Yonhap News Agency