Japan's Kōno Urges All Nations to Sever Ties with North Korea (News)


New York, Sept. 21 (Jiji Press)—Visiting Japanese Foreign Minister Kōno Tarō on Thursday urged all countries to sever diplomatic and economic relations with North Korea in the wake of its recent series of provocations.

"We are now facing an unprecedented threat that is more grave and imminent to the security of the entire international community," he said in a speech, titled "Diplomacy in Creeping Crises," at Columbia University in New York, referring to Pyongyang's nuclear and missile development programs.

Kōno said, "Can you believe that over 160 countries have diplomatic ties with North Korea, the biggest threat to the world right now?"

Also noting that a number of countries still accept many workers from North Korea and maintain their economic ties with the nation, Kōno said, "We have to urge those countries to cut off their diplomatic and economic relationships with North Korea."

Among its recent provocations, North Korea launched an intermediate-range ballistic missile in late August and another earlier this month, with both missiles passing over Hokkaidō, northernmost Japan, before falling into the Pacific.

China's Wang Calls Dialogue with North Korea Important

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, meeting with his Japanese counterpart, Kōno Tarō, in New York on Thursday, underscored the importance of dialogue with North Korea in dealing with its nuclear and missile development.

At the 45-minute talks, Kōno cited the need to put unprecedented pressure on North Korea. In reply, Wang said both pressure and dialogue are important.

The international community at the moment should unite to put a new level of pressure on North Korea, Kōno said, urging China, which has influence over the reclusive country, to make further efforts to deal with the matter. Wang said that China has fully implemented its international obligations, calling on Japan, South Korea and the United States to take necessary steps, such as the cancellation of US-South Korea military drills.

Still, the two ministers agreed to continue talks over the North Koran issue and keep on working closely together for the common goal of denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula, while sticking to their respective positions.

Kōno asked the Chinese side to take positive steps over a Japanese man in his sixties who has been arrested by Chinese authorities, including allowing him to return home early. Wang replied that China will act appropriately based on domestic law.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

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