UPDATE : 2017.9.22 FRI 18:42
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Leaders of S. Korea, France and Australia agree to cooperate to bring NK to dialogue table

South Korean President Moon Jae-in agreed Monday with his French and Australian counterparts to work together to lure North Korea back to dialogue through "top-level sanctions and pressure" and peacefully address the nuclear standoff, Seoul's presidential office said.

In separate phone calls with French President Emmanuel Macron and Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, Moon discussed coordinated responses to Pyongyang's sixth and most powerful nuclear test on Sept. 3.

Moon explained to both that the latest provocation is on a "level different from the past," while highlighting the importance of the international community putting up a united front to resist Pyongyang's evolving threats, Park Soo-hyun, Moon's spokesman, told reporters.

During the 20-minute talks, Moon asked France, a permanent member of the U.N. Security Council, to play an "active and continued" role in ensuring the council will adopt an additional package of sanctions against the North, and that they can be thoroughly enforced.

Macron shared Moon's view, saying he fully supports Seoul's position, Park explained.

During the 35-minute call with Turnbull, Moon stressed that the North's nuke test poised a "serious challenge" to peace and security of the world.

"We have so far called for the North to renounce its nuclear and missile programs with patience... but now, in cooperation with the international community, we will take strong, practical measures that the North can actually feel," Moon was quoted by Park as saying.

Turnbull, in return, pledged to strengthen pressure on the North by fully enforcing the U.N. sanctions.

On the same day, the defense ministers of South Korea and France also agreed to deepen the partnership between their countries on North Korea.

In a phone conversation, South Korean Defense Minister Song Young-moo and his French counterpart Florence Parly vowed to keep close cooperation to deal with the North Korea's nuclear issues, including the adoption of stronger sanctions against the reclusive regime, according to the Seoul defense ministry.

This photo, provided by the presidential office Cheong Wa Dae on Sept. 11, 2017, shows President Moon Jae-in speaking with French President Emmanuel Macron over the phone at his office in Seoul. (Yonhap)

Hwi Won  edt@koreapost.com

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