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Japan and Norway agree to jointly work against North Korea’s nuclear program

Kyodo

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his Norwegian counterpart Erna Solberg agreed Wednesday on the need to work together in maximizing pressure on North Korea to prevent it from pursuing nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles.

“We confirmed that we will raise pressure on North Korea to the maximum possible extent to make it change its policies,” Abe said at a joint new conference after the meeting in Tokyo.

Norway maintains diplomatic ties with North Korea, while Japan has put itself at the forefront of international efforts to tighten sanctions on Pyongyang following a series of weapons tests in violation of U.N. resolutions.

Abe said he and Solberg also agreed to strengthen bilateral cooperation in developing the Arctic region.

“(Japan and Norway) will work in close coordination to maintain and strengthen an international order based on the rule of law,” Abe said.

Japan’s emphasis on the rule of law reflects its concerns about China’s expansionary maritime activities.

Solberg said they “also discussed how we can further strengthen our trade relations, and I raised the issue of looking forward for an economic partnership agreement between our countries in the future.”

Norway is not a member of the European Union with which Japan concluded negotiations on a free trade agreement in December.

Japan and the 28-member union are trying to implement in early 2019 an accord that will eliminate tariffs on more than 90 percent of products traded between them, which together account for about 30 percent of global economic output.