Thursday, December 13, 2018 | ePaper

Australia, Japan agree to keep pressure on North Korea

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Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono, right, and Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne lay wreaths at HMAS Kuttabul in Sydney on Wednesday.

AP, Canberra :
Australia and Japan on Wednesday reaffirmed their commitment to pressuring North Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons program and enforcing sanctions on Pyongyang.
Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne said Australia and Japan are committed to working closely with allies and partners to ensure North Korea is pressured to end its nuclear and missile programs. Payne and Defense Minister Christopher Pyne were meeting in Sydney with Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono and Defense Minister Takeshi Iwaya.
"We need to see real steps to complete, verifiable irreversible denuclearization" of the Korean Peninsula, Payne told reporters.
Payne and Kono had discussed sanctions enforcement with the United State at last month's U.N. General Assembly in New York.
Iwaya said the "international community must remain united" to achieve the dismantling of North Korea's weapons of mass destruction.
Meanwhile, Australia and Japan warned China and the United States to settle their differences over trade and political issues using existing rules.
"No country wishes for a new cold war," Kono said.
Meanwhile, the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Wednesday that Russia, China and North Korea had agreed on the need for five-way talks including the United States and South Korea to end tensions on the Korean peninsula.
Deputy foreign ministers from Russia, North Korea and China had met in Moscow on Tuesday and expressed support for talks in such a format to normalize relations, the ministry said in a statement.
President Donald Trump has stepped up pressure on China by raising tariffs on billions of dollars of Chinese goods. Beijing has retaliated by imposing penalties on billions of dollars of U.S. products.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met with Kim on Monday in Pyongyang to discuss a future summit and told reporters the North had made "significant progress" toward denuclearization.
He said international inspectors would be allowed into the country to inspect a nuclear test site that Pyongyang has said it dismantled.
"I think we've made incredible progress," Trump said Tuesday, hailing the absence of missile or nuclear tests this year and the recent return of remains of US service members killed during the Korean War.
"No nuclear tests, no rockets, and we have a very good relationship with Chairman Kim, which is very important," Trump said.

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