Moon, Abe Agree Now Isn't the Time for Dialogue with N.Korea

      May 31, 2017 12:45

      Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe called President Moon Jae-in on Tuesday to discuss how to deal with North Korea's constant missile provocations.

      In the 20-minute phone call, Abe said the North Korean issue took center stage during the G7 Summit in Italy and that the leaders agreed that the North's nuclear weapons program poses a grave threat to the international community, according to Cheong Wa Dae.

      Abe said North Korea's launch of a missile on Monday that landed in Japan's exclusive economic zone in the East Sea was a "threat to the international community" and cannot be excused.

      He added it is meaningless to hold talks with the North simply for the sake of talking and urged the South Korean government, which has sent worrying signals that it wants to weaken sanctions, to cooperate with UN and international efforts to deal with the threat from Pyongyang.

      President Moon Jae-in speaks with his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe at Cheong Wa Dae on Tuesday. /Courtesy of Cheong Wa Dae

      Moon was quoted as saying, "I agree with the prime minister's words that now is not a time for dialogue with North Korea, but a time to heighten sanctions and pressure."

      But he added, "That is why the international community must on the one hand respond firmly and on the other hand continue to send a message that dialogue is possible if North Korea gives up its nuclear development."

      Moon said he believes Washington agrees that the ultimate goal should be to bring the North to the negotiating table, based on his telephone conversation with U.S. President Donald Trump and from feedback from his special envoy to Washington, who met the American leader.

      Abe invited Moon to visit Japan soon and Moon said he hopes to discuss specifics during the G20 Summit in Germany in July.

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