• Kyodo

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Foreign Minister Taro Kono and his German counterpart, Sigmar Gabriel, agreed Thursday to ensure the involvement of China and Russia in fully enforcing U.N. sanctions on North Korea, according to the Foreign Ministry.

In a meeting with Gabriel in New York, Kono said it is vital that the international community as a whole, including Beijing and Moscow — which critics call the principal economic enablers of Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs — strengthen pressure on North Korea.

Gabriel was quoted by the ministry as saying Germany has been urging the two countries to pressure the North in concert with other countries.

The European Union, of which Germany is a key member, has been implementing the bloc’s own sanctions on North Korea, Gabriel was quoted as saying.

Kono and Gabriel also affirmed close coordination in the areas of U.N. Security Council reform and nuclear disarmament.

In a separate meeting, Kono and top diplomats from four Latin American and Caribbean nations shared “grave concerns” about North Korea’s nuclear arms and missiles as a “serious challenge” to nuclear disarmament and nonproliferation efforts by the international community, according to the Japanese ministry.

Kono urged Latin American and Caribbean states to join hands in applying “an unprecedented and new level of pressure” on Pyongyang through rigorous enforcement of Security Council sanctions resolutions on the North.

Along with Kono, the meeting brought together the foreign ministers of El Salvador, the Dominican Republic and Ecuador as well as a senator from Grenada.

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