U.S. vow to work closely to tackle N. Korea nuclear test
Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono said Monday he agreed with
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to work in tandem to put
"maximum" pressure on North Korea after the country carried
sixth nuclear test a day earlier.
After their 20-minute telephone talks, Kono told reporters that
Tokyo and Washington will cooperate to adopt fresh sanctions on
Pyongyang at an emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council,
scheduled to be held later in the day.
"Secretary Tillerson and I shared the view that (North Korea's
latest provocation) is a grave and imminent threat to the security of
the international community," Kono said.
Kono was mum about what kind of sanctions Japan and the United
States are trying to newly impose on Pyongyang.
Japanese and U.S. officials have been apparently eager to impose
restrictions on North Korea's crude oil and oil product trade to curb
the inflow of funds into Pyongyang and prevent the country from
pursuing its missile and nuclear ambitions.
Kono also met with ambassadors to Japan from several nations
such as Russia and Ethiopia, the president of the 15-member U.N.
Security Council for September, as well as Italy and Sweden, current
nonpermanent council members, a government official said.
During bilateral talks with Russian ambassador to Japan Evgeny
Afanasiev, Kono and the envoy confirmed that achieving the
denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula is their "common goal,"
Kono added Japan will keep in close touch with Russia to attain
that goal but that the two countries have been at odds over how to
deal with North Korea.
While Kono has reiterated that now is not the time for talks,
Afanasiev told reporters that Russian President Vladimir Putin has
said "dialogue is needed" to resolve issues related to Pyongyang
pressure alone is "not working."
Putin and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe are expected to
exchange views on North Korea's nuclear test in their planned talks
in Vladivostok later this week.
Meanwhile, Japanese Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera said
Monday he has held telephone talks with his Australian counterpart
Marise Payne and that they agreed it is important for the
international community to work as one to bolster pressure on
North Korea said through its official media Sunday that it
successfully tested an advanced hydrogen bomb and now has the ability
to adjust the power of a nuclear warhead as it chooses depending on
the attack target.
Pyongyang previously performed a nuclear test in September last
year and has continued to launch ballistic missiles, including two
intercontinental ballistic missiles into the Sea of Japan in July and
one that flew over Japan into the Pacific Ocean late last month.