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Japan, US, S. Korea diplomats discuss N. Korea
Published in The Saudi Gazette on 14 - 09 - 2021

Senior diplomats from Japan, the US and South Korea discussed Tuesday North Korean issues, the Japanese Foreign Ministry said, a day after Pyongyang announced it has successfully test-fired new long-range cruise missiles.
The three-way talks, held in Tokyo, was attended by Takehiro Funakoshi, director-general of the Japanese Foreign Ministry's Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau, Sung Kim, US special representative for North Korea, and Noh Kyu-duk, South Korea's special representative for Korean Peninsula peace and security affairs, according to the ministry.
"Trilateral cooperation has become more important in dealing with North Korea's nuclear and missile development," Funakoshi said at the outset of the meeting, while Kim said, "We expect the DPRK to positively respond to our joint efforts for dialogue without preconditions."
The DPRK stands for the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, North Korea's official name.
Their gathering came after the North said Monday it successfully test-fired long-range cruise missile over the weekend, which "flew for 7,580 seconds" before "hitting targets 1,500 km away."
The ministry did not provide details of the meeting, but the three officials agreed to continue their efforts toward the denuclearization of North Korea through "dialogue and sanctions," Kyodo News Agency reported, citing a ministry official.
Meanwhile, Noh referred to the possibility of providing humanitarian assistance to North Korea, it said. The trilateral meeting was previously held in Seoul in June.
Nuclear talks between Washington and Pyongyang have stalled since the Hanoi summit between then US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un ended without a deal in 2019.
The three countries have been discussing ways to break a standoff with North Korea over its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs, which have drawn international sanctions.
They called on North Korea to return to talks over its missile and nuclear development, a day after Pyongyang announced it successfully tested new long-range cruise missiles, suggesting advancement of its military capabilities.
Washington and its allies will continue to work to fully implement all United Nations Security Council resolutions in addressing North Korea's missile development, Sung said.
The North hailed its new missiles as a "strategic weapon of great significance," suggesting that they were developed with the intent to arm them with nuclear warheads. North Korea says it needs nuclear weapons in order to deter what it claims is hostility from Washington and Seoul.
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi was also set to arrive in Seoul on Tuesday for talks with South Korean officials over bilateral relations and the freeze in nuclear diplomacy with North Korea.
Wang is scheduled to meet with South Korean Foreign Minister Chung Eui-yong on Wednesday. Chung is expected seek a more active role from Beijing, Pyongyang's main ally and economic lifeline, in persuading the North to return to the negotiation table. — Agencies

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