Top diplomats from South Korea and Japan underlined the need to intensify sanctions and pressure against North Korea to resolve the North's evolving nuclear and missile threats, the foreign ministry here said Thursday.
Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha and her Japanese counterpart Taro Kono continued to emphasize that the pressure should be applied in a way to bring the North out to discuss its denuclearization.
The two met in Vladivostok, Russia, on the sidelines of a regional economic forum their leaders were attending. The meeting was held before South Korean President Moon Jae-in and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe had a summit there.
"The two ministers agreed that now is the time for the international community to intensify sanctions and pressure in response to the North's provocations including the sixth nuclear test," the ministry said in a press release.
"Recognizing that the ultimate goal of such sanctions and pressure is to lead the North to the negotiating table to discuss its denuclearization, the two also shared the view that the North's nuclear issue should be resolved peacefully through talks," it added.
The North conducted its sixth and most powerful nuclear test Sunday, claiming that it detonated a hydrogen bomb that can be fitted onto an intercontinental ballistic missile. Experts say that the explosion was around five to six times more powerful than the previous one, which was carried out in September last year.
In the face of the growing nuclear and missile threats from the North, the two reaffirmed that the three-way cooperation of South Korea, Japan and the United States is more critical than ever. They also called the North's latest provocation an "irresponsible" and "reckless" act that should be met with "strong" and "stern" countermeasures, the ministry said.
They underlined the role of China and Russia in resolving the nuclear stalemate, vowing to maintain strategic communication with those countries to advance the ongoing denuclearization efforts, according to the ministry.