North Korea drives US, Japan and South Korea closer
Missile tests and murder of North Korean leader’s brother main agenda items in meeting
The foreign ministers of Japan, the United States and South Korea agreed Thursday to closely coordinate in dealing with North Korea’s test-firing Sunday of a ballistic missile in violation of UN Security Council resolutions.
Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung Se urged Pyongyang to exercise restraint.
They also discussed the situation in North Korea in the wake of the killing Monday in Malaysia of leader Kim Jong Un’s half-brother.
The meeting, the first of its kind since US President Donald Trump’s inauguration on January 20, came after North Korea test-fired what it said was a new type of medium- to long-range ballistic missile on Sunday.
Trump said Monday he will deal with North Korea “very strongly,” but he did not say how the new administration will respond to the provocation, which many see as a test of its North Korea policy.
Kim claimed in January that his country was ready to test-launch an intercontinental ballistic missile, a veiled threat to strike the United States with a missile carrying a nuclear warhead.
They also compared notes on North Korea’s domestic situation after Kim Jong Nam, 45, the elder half-brother of Kim Jong Un, was killed in Malaysia, possibly with poison. Pyongyang is suspected of having been behind the incident.
The three ministers met on the sidelines of a two-day foreign ministerial session of the Group of 20 major economies in the western German city through Friday.