NEW YORK – Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu agreed on Monday in New York to work together to fully enforce the latest sanctions on North Korea.
In the roughly 50-minute meeting — their first in about two years — on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly, the leaders agreed that North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile development poses a threat to the entire world, Japanese Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasutoshi Nishimura said.
According to Nishimura, Abe told Netanyahu that North Korea poses an unprecedented threat to the international community and it is essential to fully enforce the relevant U.N. Security Council resolutions, including the new sanctions, to place pressure on the country like never before.
Netanyahu “completely agreed,” Nishimura said.
The latest resolution, adopted in response to North Korea’s sixth nuclear test on Sept. 3, places for the first time a cap on oil supplies to the country.
According to Nishimura, Abe said Japan values Israel as an important partner that shares the basic values of freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law, to which Netanyahu replied that he shares the same thinking.
The leaders hailed a bilateral investment pact that will come into force early next month following its signing in February, and agreed to further deepen cooperation in cutting-edge technologies and security, including cybersecurity, Nishimura said.
The pact protects the rights and assets of Japanese companies operating in Israel, and ensure that Japanese companies will be treated the same as domestic companies.
They also discussed peace in the Middle East, with Abe expressing thanks for Israel’s cooperation with the “Corridor for Peace and Prosperity” development project that includes both Israel and Palestine along with Japan and Jordan. The leaders agreed to continue working together to promote the corridor project.
Earlier Monday, Abe also held talks with five African leaders on the sideline of the U.N. meeting, and affirmed the importance of full enforcement by the international community of U.N. sanctions on North Korea, according to a senior Japanese official.
They agreed that the international community must take measures to prevent nuclear proliferation and promote denuclearization, the official told reporters.
The African leaders included Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, whose country holds the presidency of the U.N. Security Council for the month of September.
Abe was quoted by the official as saying the international community as a whole needs to apply “an unprecedented and new level of pressure” on North Korea as a way of compelling it to alter its provocative behavior.
Abe requested that African nations sever military cooperation with North Korea and employ stricter controls on trade and personnel exchanges with the country.
The leaders of the five African countries, which also included Senegal, Guinea, Ivory Coast and Equatorial Guinea, said they strongly support Japan’s position, and that North Korea’s nuclear test conducted Sept. 3 was a head-on challenge to the international community, according to the Japanese official.
Abe and the African leaders also agreed on the need to reform the U.N. Security Council so Japan and African nations can play an increased role for global peace and stability.