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Abe, May agree to further press N. Korea over "unprecedented" threat

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his British counterpart
Theresa May agreed Wednesday in Kyoto to work together to counter the
"unprecedented" security threat from North Korea following the launch
of a ballistic missile over Japan the previous day.

May arrived in Japan on Wednesday afternoon for a three-day
visit, her first to the country since taking office in July last
year. She is expected to stress her unity with Abe over North Korea
and discuss the future of bilateral economic and trade ties.

Ahead of formal talks scheduled for the following day in Tokyo,
Abe and May affirmed over dinner in Japan's former capital that North
Korea's provocative actions now present "an unprecedented grave and
serious threat and absolutely cannot be tolerated," according to the
Japanese Foreign Ministry.

They agreed to work in coordination to put more pressure on
North Korea, including at the United Nations, and to urge China to
play a greater role in the matter, the ministry said.

The dinner talks were preceded by a tea ceremony in Kyoto
following May's arrival at Osaka International Airport.

At their meeting on Thursday, the leaders are expected to
announce a set of joint statements pledging cooperation on security
and the economy.

They are expected to discuss in Tokyo how their countries' trade
relationship might evolve once Britain completes its exit from the
European Union.

Japan and the European Union sealed a broad agreement last month
on a free trade deal that analysts said served as a signal to
skeptics about the benefits of staying in the bloc.

May will also attend a meeting of Japan's National Security
Council to be held Thursday afternoon ahead of the bilateral talks,
according to the Japanese government.

Such an invitation has previously been extended just once, to
then Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott in 2014. Abe and May
agreed in April this year to advance joint defense exercises and
equipment research.

Prior to the meeting between Abe and May, the foreign and
defense ministers of Japan and Britain agreed in separate telephone
talks to further pressure North Korea over its missile development
and deepen bilateral defense cooperation.

According to the Japanese Foreign Ministry, British Foreign
Secretary Boris Johnson told his Japanese counterpart Taro Kono that
he shares Japan's concern over North Korean missiles and vowed to
cooperate with Japan at the U.N. Security Council and elsewhere.

On Thursday morning, May is scheduled to visit the Maritime
Self-Defense Force's Yokosuka base in Kanagawa Prefecture, southwest
of Tokyo.

She is also set to meet with Emperor Akihito before leaving
Japan on Friday. (Aug. 30)


British Prime Minister Theresa May (L) and her Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe head to a dinner party at the Kyoto State Guest House in the western Japanese city of Kyoto on Aug. 30, 2017. (Pool photo)(Kyodo)