National / Politics

Taro Kono, Boris Johnson meet on UN sidelines, affirm unity in pressuring North Korea

Kyodo

Foreign Minister Taro Kono and British counterpart Boris Johnson agreed Tuesday in New York on the need for the international community to put pressure collectively on North Korea over its nuclear and ballistic missile programs.

Meeting on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly, Kono and Johnson reiterated their commitment to appealing to China in particular over the issue, the Japanese Foreign Ministry said.

They agreed to continue to work in close coordination over North Korea, including at the U.N. Security Council, which last week adopted a new sanctions resolution placing the first restrictions on oil supply to the North in response to its sixth nuclear test on Sept. 3.

In the roughly 40-minute meeting, Kono and Johnson also affirmed they will advance a new level of bilateral defense cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region in light of the commitments made by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and British counterpart Theresa May in their meeting in Japan last month.

In joint statements adopted at the leaders’ talks, Japan and Britain pledged to work together to maintain the rule of law at sea, with Japan welcoming Britain’s strengthened security engagement in the region.

Kono and Johnson welcomed the planned deployment of the British frigate Argyll to Japan next year for joint exercises with Japan’s Maritime Self-Defense Force.

On economic issues, they agreed to closer bilateral economic relations as Britain prepares to leave the European Union, with Johnson telling Kono that Britain will consider the needs of Japanese companies doing business there during the process.

Later Tuesday, Kono and Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland agreed to work in concert to “maximize pressure” on North Korea through the complete enforcement of the relevant Security Council resolutions, the Japanese Foreign Ministry said.