Australia, Japan agree to keep pressure on North Korea

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Australia and Japan yesterday reaffirmed their commitment to pressuring North Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons programme and enforcing sanctions on Pyongyang.

Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne said Australia and Japan are committed to working closely with allies and partners to ensure North Korea is pressured to end its nuclear and missile programmes.

Payne and Defence Minister Christopher Pyne were meeting in Sydney with Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono and Defence Minister Takeshi Iwaya.

“We need to see real steps to complete, verifiable irreversible denuclearisation” of the Korean Peninsula, Payne told reporters.

Payne and Kono had discussed sanctions enforcement with the United States (US) at last month’s United Nations (UN) General Assembly in New York.

Iwaya said the “international community must remain united” to achieve the dismantling of North Korea’s weapons of mass destruction.

Meanwhile, Australia and Japan warned China and the US to settle their differences over trade and political issues using existing rules.

“No country wishes for a new cold war,” Kono said.

President Donald Trump has stepped up pressure on China by raising tariffs on billions of dollars of Chinese goods. Beijing has retaliated by imposing penalties on billions of dollars of US products.

Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne speaks as Australian Defence Minister Christopher Pyne, Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono and Japanese Defence Minister Takeshi Iwaya listen during a joint press conference in Sydney. – AP