• Kyodo

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Japan, the United States and South Korea vowed to apply “maximum pressure” on North Korea to force it to abandon its nuclear and ballistic missile programs, according to a joint statement issued Friday.

The pledge was issued a day after the leaders of the three countries met in Hamburg, Germany on the sidelines of the Group of 20 summit, and three days after North Korea’s test-launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of hitting Alaska.

According to the statement released by the White House, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, U.S. President Donald Trump and South Korean President Moon Jae-in “committed to continue to cooperate to apply maximum pressure on the DPRK to change its path” and “refrain from provocative and threatening actions.”

DPRK is an acronym for the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, North Korea’s formal name.

The leaders also urged North Korea to “take steps necessary to return to serious denuclearization dialogue.”

In the statement, they condemned the ICBM launch on Tuesday as a “major escalation” which violates U.N. Security Council resolutions and underscores the “growing threat the DPRK poses” around the world.

North Korea claimed it successfully test-launched its first ICBM potentially capable of reaching parts of the United States, drawing condemnation from the international community. On Thursday, Trump, Abe and Moon agreed to step up coordination in imposing new Security Council sanctions on North Korea.

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