LONDON – Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Wednesday shared concern over North Korea’s intensifying provocations and agreed to enhance cooperation, including financial sanctions, to prevent the reclusive country from going nuclear.
During the meeting, Kishida told Kerry that Japan is extremely concerned over Pyongyang’s intention to restart its nuclear facilities in Yongbyong and recent development to prepare missile launches, a Japanese official said.
He also said it is necessary to make North Korea understand that repeating provocations would not serve the country’s interest, the official said.
Kerry told Kishida that Japan and the United States need to deepen coordination to implement financial sanctions in a steady manner, the official said.
Kerry also noted that it is also important for the two countries to work closely together with other countries concerned, apparently referring to South Korea and China.
The secretary of state told Kishida that he wants to have further discussions on the matter when he visits Japan from Sunday.
On Iran, Kerry hailed Japan’s efforts to continue to reduce oil imports from Tehran in line with U.S. sanctions on the Middle Eastern country to squeeze its financial sources to develop a nuclear weapon.
Kishida told the secretary of state that Tokyo will keep adding pressure on Iran while continuing diplomatic efforts to encourage Tehran to abandon its nuclear ambition, the official said.
During the meeting held ahead of a two-day meeting of the Group of Eight foreign ministers in London, Kerry told Kishida that he wants to update discussions on the U.S.-led Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade talks and Japan’s effort to ratify an international treaty on settling cross-border child custody dispute.
While Washington is thought to be close to giving the green light to Japan’s participation in the TPP talks, the two foreign ministers are believed to have little substantive discussions on the issue in the meeting.
Japan is under pressure to join the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction as it is the only G-8 member that has not sign the pact. The Japanese government and the ruling parties aim to pass a set of related bills in the Diet next month.
Kerry also said he wants to discuss bilateral cooperation in fighting climate change during his visit to Tokyo, saying it is one of the priority issues of President Barack Obama.
Kerry is scheduled to make his first visit to Japan from Sunday as secretary of state and meet with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Kishida.
Kishida held his first meeting with Kerry when he visited Washington with Abe in February.