Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and U.S. Vice President Mike Pence confirmed on Wednesday that their two countries will continue to apply “maximum pressure” on North Korea, in cooperation with South Korea, to foil Pyongyang’s nuclear ambitions.
“We confirmed the necessity of using every possible means to increase pressure as much as possible through coordination between Japan and the United States, and between Japan, the United States and South Korea, to make North Korea change its policies,” Abe said at a joint press conference after talks with Pence in Tokyo.
Pence said, “The United States-Japan alliance is the cornerstone of peace, prosperity and freedom in the Indo-Pacific region.” The vice president arrived in Japan on Tuesday, making his second visit to Japan since April last year.
“The United States of America will soon unveil the toughest and most agressive round of economic sanctions on North Korea ever, and we will continue to isolate North Korea,” he said.
Abe also said he and Pence fully discussed issues related to North Korea, analyzing the latest information about the country and exchanging opinions on what measures to implement.
North Korea has adopted a conciliatory stance ahead of the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, which are scheduled to start on Friday, but Abe stressed his resolve not to compromise over the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
“I positively evaluate inter-Korea dialogue for a successful Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, but on the other hand, we have to look squarely at the fact that North Korea is relentlessly pursuing its nuclear and missile development programs,” Abe said.
“I agreed with Vice President Pence that a nuclear-armed North Korea can never be tolerated,” Abe said.
Pence said the U.S. delegation at the Games would be there to cheer its athletes, but “we’ll also be there to stand with our allies. And remind the world that North Korea is the most tyrannical and oppressive regime on the planet.”
At Wednesday’s press conference, Abe emphasized, “Under our deep relationship of trust with President Trump, the Japan-U.S. alliance is stronger than ever before.”
During bilateral talks in Tokyo in November last year, Abe and Trump agreed to increase pressure on North Korea by any means to the maximum.
(c) 2018, The Japan News/Yomiuri