Japan to ASEAN: Pressure North Korea to denuclearize


In remarks to reporters Monday morning, Tillerson said the best signal North Korea could give that it was prepared for negotiations with the USA would be to halt its missile launches.

Tokyo will "closely" cooperate with the ASEAN countries, China and South Korea "in order to increase the predictability of a regional or world economic crisis", Japan's new foreign minister, Taro Kono, said during the meeting in Manila.

"Since past year, when it forcibly implemented two nuclear tests and more than 20 ballistic missile launches, the security threats have entered a new stage", the Japanese Defence Ministry said in the 563-page document released on Tuesday.

Tillerson said most of the assistance the U.S.is providing is information and the transfer of some drones and Cessna aircraft, as well as training and "guidance in terms of how to deal with an enemy that fights in ways that is not like most people have ever had to deal with". "They are supposed to realize that the DPRK will mercilessly take strategic steps, including physical actions, mobilizing all of its national power", the statement from the Korean Peace Committee in the Asia-Pacific region said.

China has repeatedly said it is committed to enforcing increasingly tough United Nations resolutions on North Korea, though it has also said what it terms "normal" trade and ordinary North Koreans should not be affected.

"We will under no circumstances put the nukes and ballistic rockets on the negotiating table", Ri said to The Independent.

North Korea has made no secret of its plans to develop a nuclear-tipped missile capable of striking the United States and has ignored global calls to halt its nuclear and missile programmes.

There was no direct reaction from North Korea to Tillerson's remarks but in a statement after the US secretary of state made his comments, Pyongyang responded robustly to the new sanctions by saying it was ready to teach the United States a "severe lesson" if it attacked.

Trump officials maintain a list of Chinese banks and other firms which the USA would be prepared to levy sanctions against, due to alleged ties to North Korean weaponry programs.

The ARF is an annual security gathering involving foreign ministers from almost 30 nations including China, Japan, South Korea, the United States and the ASEAN members.

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The United States will have direct talks with North Korea if the rogue nation agrees to stopping their ICBM tests. The past six decades have been punctuated by periodic rises in antagonism and rhetoric that have always stopped short of a resumption of active hostilities. Along with stopping the missile launches, North Korea would have to quit its nuclear weapons testing, he said recently.

Tillerson's remarks might be an attempt to try another tack by the United States, which also has tried to get Pyongyang's ally China to use its influence to prevent North Korean leader Kim Jong Un from building a nuclear arsenal.

That diplomatic concession led to speculation that Tillerson and Ri Yong Ho of North Korea, attending their first meeting together, might actually meet.

On Sunday, the city of Hiroshima, Japan urged the world to "never again" suffer from an atomic attack; and those words came at a time when North Korea has been accelerating its nuclear weapons program.

The U.S. drafted the sanctions resolution and negotiated it with China following North Korea's unprecedented test of an ICBM in July and a follow-up test weeks later.

Suzanne DiMaggio of the New America Foundation think tank in Washington said there may be some room for dialogue.

For the USA, it was a long-awaited sign of progress for Trump's strategy of trying to enlist Beijing's help to squeeze North Korea diplomatically and economically. How do they define these 'hostile policies?' How can they be addressed? He emphasized, "We're trying to convey to the North Koreans, we are not your enemy".

Ando added Japan is willing to adopt the new resolution from the United Nation's Security Council (UNSC), which imposed strongest sanctions on the isolationist state for its missile tests. All countries are now banned from importing North Korean coal, iron, lead and seafood products, and from letting in more North Korean laborers who sent remittances back into the country. Countries also are banned from increasing the number of visiting workers from North Korea.

According to a new US intelligence assessment reported by the Washington Post on Tuesday, North Korea has successfully produced a miniaturized nuclear warhead that can fit inside its missiles, crossing a key threshold.