More North Korea sanctions 'required urgently,' says Merkel

Key Points
  • Angela Merkel urgently calls for greater North Korea sanctions.
  • The German Chancellor says she will speak to EU foreign ministers this weekend about ramping up pressure on the rogue state.
  • Merkel also calls for the EU to suspend or end talks surrounding Turkey's accession to the union.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel holds a press conference following the European Union (EU) Leaders Summit in Brussels, Belgium on March 10, 2017.
Darsun Aydemir | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has urgently called for more sanctions over North Korea.

In a parliamentary address Tuesday, Merkel said she would meet with European Union (EU) foreign ministers this weekend to discuss ramping up sanctions against the rogue state, which launched its latest and most powerful nuclear test on Sunday.

"North Korea's nuclear tests are a flagrant violation of all international conditions," Merkel told the Bundestag lower house of parliament.

She insisted that sanctions, which would curtail trade with the closed state, rather than conflict, would be the best way to end provocations by President Kim Jong Un.

"I say clearly and in the name of the whole government: there can only be a peaceful, diplomatic solution."

Sunday's missile launch was North Korea's sixth in a series of provocations. The closed state claimed it was an advanced hydrogen bomb, though experts are yet to confirm this.

Merkel to call for end to Turkey EU-membership talks

Merkel also used her 'State of Germany' address to discuss other key EU issues, including Turkey's proposed accession to the union.

She said that she would push her EU peers to consider suspending or ending accession talks at an October meeting after claiming that "Turkey is moving away from the path of the rule of law at a very fast speed."

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan
Murad Sezer | Reuters

Merkel said that she would urge her partners to take a "decisive stand," adding that Europe's position would be "weakened" if Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan sensed infighting within the union.

Turkey has long attempted to join the union, though its ties with Germany and several other EU countries have become increasingly fractured over recent months amid a series of diplomatic clashes.

A ban on diesel cars must be avoided

The Chancellor's wide-ranging speech comes as she tries to win favour ahead of this month's general election on September 24. Polls released Tuesday indicate that she has a 13 percent lead on her closest competitor – and current coalition partner – the Social Democratic Party.

A Golf diesel car is seen at a Volkswagen dealer.
Odd Andersen | AFP | Getty Images

She used the speech to acknowledge failings in Germany's iconic car manufacturing industry, which has been embroiled in an emissions scandal since 2015, but said that she would continue to support diesel car makers as they transition to greener alternatives.

"We'll need combustion engines for years and decades – and still at the same time we'll have to take the bridge, the path towards new mobility and new engines," Merkel noted.

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