South Korea and Japan “will never tolerate” a nuclear-armed North Korea, South Korean President Lee Myung-Bak said after talks in Tokyo with Prime Minister Taro Aso.
Lee and Aso agreed to press North Korea to abandon its nuclear programme amid Pyongyang’s continued sabre-rattling, and called for China to play a greater role in persuading it to disarm, they said in a news conference.
“During the talks, we confirmed that we will never tolerate a nuclear-armed North Korea,” Lee told reporters.
“Through implementing UN resolution 1874, we need to show North Korea that they will gain nothing by obtaining nuclear weapons,” Lee said, referring to UN sanctions against Pyongyang for its recent nuclear and missile tests.
Aso said: “We agreed to strengthen cooperation between Japan, South Korea and the United States, and agreed on the need to deepen cooperation with China.”
China, North Korea’s main ally, has always favoured cautious diplomacy toward Pyongyang, wary of any moves that could push the isolated regime to collapse and potentially send millions of refugees streaming over its border.
The summit came as Pyongyang has stepped up its confrontational rhetoric amid global suspicions that Kim Jong-Il’s administration is preparing to fire more missiles and stage a military exercise off the North’s east coast.