• Kyodo

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The foreign ministers of Japan, the United States and South Korea on Wednesday affirmed close coordination in an effort to achieve the complete denuclearization of North Korea, the Japanese Foreign Ministry said.

In a meeting in London, Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and South Korean Foreign Minister Chung Eui-yong agreed to push North Korea to comply with its obligations under U.N. Security Council resolutions over its nuclear and missile programs, the ministry said.

It marked the first such gathering since the launch in January of U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration, which recently completed its policy review on North Korea.

On Monday, Blinken expressed hope that North Korea will return to negotiations toward the goal of denuclearization, saying the Biden administration has made clear that it will pursue “practical” diplomacy on the issue, unlike the grand-bargain style employed by Biden’s predecessor Donald Trump.

In the hour-long meeting, Blinken explained to the two key Asian allies the outcome of the policy review and the three affirmed concerted cooperation in promoting the denuclearization of North Korea, according to a Japanese Foreign Ministry official.

Motegi welcomed the U.S. policy review, saying Washington takes into account Tokyo’s policy toward Pyongyang and that the Biden administration attaches importance to ensuring close coordination with the two Asian allies in pursuing its North Korea policy, the official said.

The official refrained from revealing details of the U.S. policy review, however.

Blinken and Chung backed Japan’s efforts to address North Korea’s abduction of Japanese nationals in the 1970s and 1980s, according to the official.

The three ministers met on the sidelines of the Group of Seven foreign ministerial meeting in the British capital.

The three-way talks were initiated by the United States, according to diplomatic sources, after South Korea was invited by Britain to join the G-7 session as a guest along with India, Australia, South Africa and Brunei, this year’s chair of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

Washington hopes for improved ties between Tokyo and Seoul, seeing that robust trilateral ties are indispensable for curbing Pyongyang’s weapons development and keeping an increasingly assertive Beijing in check.

The G-7 groups Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States, plus the European Union.

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