Abe, Pence Agree to Keep Maximum Pressure on North Korea (News)
Tokyo, Feb. 7 (Jiji Press)—Japanese Prime Minister Abe Shinzō and US Vice President Mike Pence, at a meeting in Tokyo on Wednesday, reconfirmed their countries' stances of continuing to apply maximum pressure on North Korea to make the reclusive state abandon its nuclear and missile development programs.
The Abe-Pence meeting took place ahead of their separate talks with South Korean President Moon Jae-in, whose reconciliatory attitude toward Pyongyang has stood out recently as the North is slated to participate in the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics in the South.
Abe and Pence are set to meet with Moon when they visit South Korea to attend the opening ceremony of the Pyeongchang Games on Friday. They are expected to urge South Korea to remain alert for moves by North Korea.
"We agreed to call on related countries not to be blinded by North Korea's 'smile diplomacy,'" Abe told a joint press conference with Pence after the Tokyo meeting. "I hope to show that the solid cooperation among Japan, the United States and South Korea is unwavering," through the upcoming summit with Moon, Abe stressed.
Pence said, "We will not allow North Korea to hide behind the Olympic banner the reality that they enslave their people and threaten the wider region." He also said the United States will soon unveil the toughest and most aggressive sanctions ever against North Korea.[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]