Foreign Minister Taro Kono asked his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi on Friday for Chinese cooperation in adopting a new U.N. Security Council sanctions resolution against North Korea, the Japanese Foreign Ministry said.
The request, made during a telephone conversation, came in response to North Korea’s launch of a ballistic missile over Japan and into the Pacific Ocean earlier in the week.
Kono was quoted as telling Wang during the 40-minute conversation that North Korea’s action posed “an unprecedented, serious and grave threat” to security and was “totally unacceptable.”
Japan’s top diplomat also said that now is the time for the international community to ramp up pressure on North Korea.
Wang reiterated China’s position of placing importance on dialogue with the North, the ministry said.
Wang also criticized Japan’s fresh unilateral sanctions on four Chinese companies and an individual linked to North Korea as part of measures to up the pressure on Pyongyang, according to the Chinese Foreign Ministry.
The foreign minister was quoted as saying that the “unilateral sanctions run counter to the spirit of U.N. Security Council resolutions.”
The sanctions are apparently aimed at reducing the flow of funds to Pyongyang.
Kono and Wang did reaffirm the common goal of denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula and agreed to keep in close contact, including at the United Nations, according to the ministry.
Pyongyang’s testing of nuclear and ballistic missile technology is banned by the United Nations and has become the subject of multiple international sanctions.
The latest resolution, which aims to cut North Korea’s $3 billion annual export revenue by a third, bans North Korean exports of coal, iron, iron ore, lead, lead ore and seafood. It was unanimously adopted by the 15-member U.N. Security Council.
The Japanese and U.S. governments are looking at possibly imposing additional sanctions, including an oil embargo.
On Wednesday, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga confirmed that an oil embargo is “one of the options.”
But China, the key benefactor of North Korea, has opposed the idea in past negotiations at the United Nations and other venues.