South Korean President Moon Jae-in and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe agreed Thursday to push for a new U.N. Security Council resolution with the "strongest" sanctions against North Korea, including cutting off all oil supplies to the impoverished country.
"Regarding the North's nuclear test and missile launches, the leaders of the two countries noted it was time to increase pressure on the North rather than engage the country in dialogue under the current conditions where the international community's condemnation and pressure against the North continue to intensify," Moon's chief press secretary Yoon Young-chan said of the meeting between the leaders.
The bilateral summit between Moon and Abe was held on the sidelines of the regional economic summit, Eastern Economic Forum, in Vladivostok, Russia.
"The leaders agreed to work together in pushing for a fresh U.N. Security Council resolution that will include the most powerful sanctions so far, such as cutting off oil supplies," Yoon told a press briefing.
The two leaders noted such a measure will depend on China and Russia, both veto-wielding permanent members of the U.N. Security Council and friendly neighbors of the communist North.
Moon first proposed the idea and called for Russia's support for the proposed new UNSC resolution on North Korea in his earlier talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin here.
Putin showed reluctance, saying he feared such a move might cause harm to hospital patients or other ordinary people in the North.
Moon and Abe said they will work to convince China and Russia, according to Yoon.
"It is important to make sure the conditions surrounding the Korean Peninsula will not further deteriorate to enter an uncontrollable state," Moon was quoted as saying.
The Japanese prime minister said he will continue to convince China and Russia, noting the countries had agreed last month, when North Korea fired a ballistic missile over Japan, to push for a new UNSC resolution should North Korea stage another provocation, Yoon said.
North Korea staged its sixth and largest nuclear test Sunday following a series of missile launches, including nine since the new South Korean leader took office in May.
Moon and Abe noted the latest nuclear test created an "unprecedented" threat to peace in their countries' shared region.
"The Japanese people and the South Korean public have become greatly concerned due to North Korea's continuing provocations," Moon said at the start of his meeting with Abe.
The Japanese premier noted the two countries are working closely together to fend off the North's threats. Moon and Abe held three telephone conversations in July alone.
"I am glad to see that we are forming a close relationship, under which we have been able to hold detailed and timely discussions on many challenges so far," Abe said through his interpreter.
"I believe North Korea's repeated provocations pose a very dangerous threat that has not been witnessed before. We have successfully worked closely together until now, but I hope we will continue to work closely together to deal with the issue," he added.
Moon also vowed enhanced cooperation between the two countries.
"We spared most of the time in our telephone conversations to the North Korean nuclear issue. We cannot but have to closely discuss the issue again today, but in addition to that, I wish we can begin discussing issues related to economic cooperation," the South Korean president said.
Abe agreed on the need to further expand the countries' bilateral relationship.
"I wish to establish new, future-oriented ties in various areas," he said.
Kim Jung-mi email@example.com
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