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Japan, China diplomats affirm "resolute" response to N. Korea

Senior diplomats from Japan and China agreed Wednesday in Tokyo
to deal "resolutely" with further provocation by North Korea, but did
not bridge the gulf between their stances on how to do so.

The Japanese Foreign Ministry said Kenji Kanasugi, director
general of the ministry's Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau, and Wu
Dawei, China's special representative for Korean Peninsula affairs,
affirmed that Japan and China will "respond resolutely" to further
provocative actions by North Korea.

That phrase appeared chosen to indicate that Japan and China
will both support stronger U.N. sanctions on North Korea, which
continues to pursue the development of nuclear weapons and ballistic
missiles.

Japan is expected to use this affirmation with China -- North
Korea's primary economic and diplomatic benefactor -- as a form of
pressure on the North.

According to the Japanese ministry, Kanasugi asked for China to
take further measures to discourage future provocations, including
restricting exports of oil on which North Korea depends.

Kanasugi also asked Wu to explain China's policy toward North
Korea, in light of Chinese President Xi Jinping's expression of
opposition to further nuclear tests and ballistic missile launches
when he spoke Monday by phone with U.S. President Donald Trump.

After the meeting, Wu said he and Kanasugi shared an
understanding about the importance of peacefully resolving issues
surrounding North Korea.

But Wu voiced displeasure over joint exercises this week between
the U.S. Navy and Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force in response to
the situation on the Korean Peninsula, saying China opposes "things
of the kind that could bring about war on the peninsula."

Wu paid visits after the talks to senior Japanese officials
including Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida, who asked that China play a
greater role in addressing issues around North Korea, and Shotaro
Yachi, head of the secretariat of Japan's National Security Council.

He also met the leader of Komeito, the junior partner of the
Liberal Democratic Party in Japan's ruling coalition, earlier
Wednesday. Natsuo Yamaguchi and Wu agreed that it is important for
Japan and China to coordinate in calling for self-restraint by North
Korea.

The meetings came the day after Kanasugi agreed at talks in
Tokyo with U.S. and South Korean counterparts to urge China to exert
its influence on North Korea.

Wu serves as the chairman of the six-party talks on ending
Pyongyang's nuclear weapons program, a dialogue that has been stalled
since late 2008.

Kanasugi, Japan's delegate to the six-party talks, last held a
face-to-face meeting with Wu in January in Beijing. (April 26)