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North Korea nuclear crisis

China and Japan differ on tactics to halt North Korea’s nuclear programme

Japan’s UN representative called for stronger measures while Beijing’s urged dialogue with Pyongyang after a UN Security Council meeting on missile tests

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 24 May, 2017, 2:06am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 24 May, 2017, 6:41am

Japan and China appeared to disagree about additional efforts to halt North Korea’s nuclear programme, with Japan’s UN representative calling for stronger measures and his Beijing counterpart urging dialogue with Pyongyang.

Japan’s Koro Bessho and China’s Liu Jieyi spoke after an emergency UN Security Council meeting on North Korea – the second in as many weeks – to respond to the latest in a series of missile tests by the country’s military. The meeting also included South Korea’s UN Ambassador Cho Tae-yul.

North Korea ‘seizes moment’ to test missile

“North Korea is acting in a triumphant and emboldened manner by this most recent launch and is now most clearly demonstrating that it is determined to further bolster its nuclear buildup,” Bessho said, referring to North Korea’s most recent ballistic missile test on Sunday.

Japan is working with China, the US, South Korea and Russia “in order to make sure the pressure is still there, is continued and even strengthened so that North Korea will change its policy,” Bessho said.

Speaking separately, Liu suggested the US and North Korea’s neighbours haven’t tried hard enough to find a diplomatic resolution.

“We don’t see why dialogue cannot take place in the current situation,” Liu said, without explicitly urging direct talks with Pyongyang, which would run counter to pledges by the US, Japan and South Korea.

Those three Security Council members have ruled out direct talks with North Korea until Pyongyang takes steps to freeze its nuclear weapons programme.

”The measures prescribed in the previous Security Council resolutions should be implemented firmly, but meanwhile we should also work to reduce tension, to de-escalate and also to try to achieve denuclearisation through dialogue by political and diplomatic means,” Liu added.

The US’s Ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, didn’t attend today’s meeting as she is in Turkey as part of President Donald Trump’s diplomatic tour of the Middle East, which started Friday. Haley, Bessho and Cho gave a joint press briefing at the UN last week, in which they pledged to strengthen pressure on North Korea.

Bessho delivered his remarks alone today, while reporters had to follow Liu outside the briefing area to get his remarks.

UN demands North Korea stop missile tests

After several rounds of emergency meetings on North Korea, the Security Council has only been able to agree that North Korea must stop its missile tests and nuclear detonations.

“The Council is firmly united in rejecting the continuation of the launching of rockets by [North Korea],” UN Security Council President Elbio Rosselli said.

Sunday’s test was North Korea’s second trial of a medium-range ballistic missile, and the 11th missile launch this year, Rosselli said.