March 26, 2014 09:11
The leaders of South Korea, the U.S. and Japan met on the sidelines of the Nuclear Security Summit at The Hague on Tuesday and vowed to stand together against threats from North Korea.
Presidents Park Geun-hye and Barack Obama and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe spent most of their meeting discussing the North Korean nuclear threat.
"The three leaders delved into initiatives on North Korea and its nuclear programs because the country has refused to abandon its drive to develop nuclear weapons," a Cheong Wa Dae official said. "They decided to put forth concerted efforts to discourage Pyongyang" from pursuing the program.
In a speech at the opening of the Nuclear Security Summit, Park said Pyongyang's pursuit of atomic bombs poses a grave threat to world peace, not least because nuclear material from the communist nation "could end up in the hands of terrorists."
The three-way summit took place at the request of Washington amid icy Seoul-Tokyo relations due to the Japanese government's lurch to the far right. The basic aim was to get South Korea and Japan to patch up ties by focusing on concerted efforts to deal with North Korea.
It was the first time in 22 months that the leaders of the two countries sat face to face. Former President Lee Myung-bak met then-Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda in May 2012.
Park, Obama and Abe also discussed the possible resumption of stalled six-party talks about North Korea's nuclear program, which China has been promoting.
Park and Abe agreed with Obama that Pyongyang must first take concrete steps to scrap its nuclear weapons program before the talks can resume. But Park left a door open by saying during a summit with Chinese President Xi Jinping on Sunday that a wide range of methods could be considered for resuming talks with North Korea, provided the North takes concrete steps toward denuclearization.
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