• Kyodo

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Japan’s top diplomat is set to hold talks with his counterparts from the United States and China next week, aiming to strengthen efforts to tackle North Korea’s nuclear and missile threats, government sources said Wednesday.

Foreign Minister Taro Kono replaced Fumio Kishida in a Cabinet reshuffle on Thursday and is expected to meet U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi.

The talks will occur on the sidelines of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations forum in Manila from Sunday, they said.

Tillerson and Kono are likely to call on China to impose tougher sanctions on North Korea, which conducted two tests of intercontinental ballistic missiles last month, the sources said.

Tokyo is expected to ask Beijing to play an active role in restraining Pyongyang. China has expressed willingness to resolve issues surrounding North Korea through talks.

Kishida met with Tillerson and Wang in April in New York.

The series of ASEAN ministerial gatherings are scheduled to be held through Tuesday in the Philippine capital. North Korea’s Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho is expected to take part in Monday’s ASEAN Regional Forum, a major venue for regional security dialogue.

Pyongyang successfully test-fired ICBMs on July 4 and July 28, posing a possible game-changing challenge to the security of the United States and the rest of the world. Experts suggest the U.S. mainland is now within striking range.

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