NEW YORK – Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres in New York on Tuesday that reform of the United Nations must include changes to the Security Council in order to be meaningful.
According to a senior Japanese official, Abe said he supports and wants to cooperate with Guterres’ efforts toward reform, but “(the issue of) U.N. reform will not be resolved without Security Council reform.”
Japan is currently serving a nonpermanent term on the Security Council, set to end in December, but has long sought a permanent spot on the decision-making body along with Brazil, Germany and India as the “Group of Four.”
Abe told Guterres he hopes for “visible progress” to be made during the current U.N. General Assembly and a message to be sent that Security Council reform is essential.
The Japanese official said Guterres responded “positively” to the suggestion, including to the mention of Security Council reform.
In their roughly 15 minute-long meeting on the margins of the annual general debate, both Abe and Guterres reiterated the importance of all U.N. members fully implementing the latest Security Council resolution on North Korea, the official said.
The resolution, adopted in response to the North’s Sept. 3 nuclear test, places restrictions on its supply of oil and petroleum products and targets its sources of foreign currency.
Abe told Guterres that North Korea’s abduction of Japanese nationals is the most important challenge for his administration, and Guterres expressed solidarity with Japan over the issue, the official said.
Abe also said he hopes Guterres will pay a visit to Japan in the near future.