NEW YORK – Japan, the United States and South Korea agreed Tuesday to work closely together to deal with issues related to North Korea, such as a possible test launch of what they suspect to be a ballistic missile, according to a Japanese official.
Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida told reporters he and his U.S and South Korean counterparts, John Kerry and Yun Byung-se, reaffirmed their commitment to dealing with a possible provocative act by Pyongyang, in a meeting held on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly in New York.
“We shared the recognition that any launch of a long-range ballistic missile would be a clear violation of past U.N. Security Council resolutions even if North Korea calls it a satellite,” Kishida said.
“We confirmed that we will strongly urge North Korea to refrain from any provocative acts and comply with U.N. Security Council resolutions” as well as an agreement of the six-nation talks on Pyongyang’s denuclearization, Kishida said.
The U.N. Security Council adopted resolutions in reaction to Pyongyang’s past nuclear tests and test-launches of ballistic missiles, prohibiting North Korea from conducting any launches using ballistic missile technology.
North Korea indicated earlier in September that it may launch a satellite on or around Oct. 10 to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the founding of the ruling Workers’ Party.
“North Korea presents an ongoing security challenge to everybody,” Kerry said at the beginning of the trilateral meeting which was open to the press.
Yun said, “It’s very important for us to send a very clear … message to North Korea so that there will not be any misjudgment and misbehavior.”
After the talks, Kishida said the three foreign ministers discussed the possibility of strengthening economic sanctions if North Korea indeed test launches a ballistic missile.
Kishida, Kerry and Yun agreed it is important to work together with China and Russia for “meaningful” dialogue with North Korea, apparently referring to the six-nation talks, which have been stalled since 2008.
North Korea promised to abandon all nuclear weapons and nuclear programs after a 2005 session of the six-nation talks but later flouted it by conducting nuclear tests and test-launching ballistic missiles believed designed to deliver a nuclear warhead.
The three foreign ministers met for the first time since August last year.