Tokyo, Seoul agree to closely coordinate response to North Korea

Tokyo, Mar 23 (EFE).- Japan’s Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi and South Korea’s Unification Minister Kwon Young-se agreed Thursday to closely coordinate their response to the North, which has stepped up its missile tests.

“North Korea’s unprecedented frequency and manner of launching ballistic missiles and other missiles is a serious and urgent matter for regional security. We shared the recognition that it is a threat and a clear and serious challenge to the international community,” the ministers said, according to a statement released by the Japanese foreign ministry after their meeting in Tokyo.

“Both sides confirmed that they would closely coordinate their responses to North Korea, including the nuclear and missile issues,” the statement added.

Japan also asked the neighboring country for “cooperation” to resolve the matter of the abductions of Japanese citizens by the North in the 1970s and 1980s.

Kyon said that the governments of both countries needed to make more efforts to boost bilateral relations, Japanese public broadcaster NHK reported Thursday.

The minister added that North Korea’s nuclear program and human rights issues affected not only South Korea but also the rest of the world, and stressed the need for his country to deepen ties with its closest neighbor, Japan.

The meeting between the two ministers came a week after South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol visited Tokyo to meet his Japanese counterpart, Fumio Kishida.

During their meeting, the two leaders agreed to strengthen their bilateral security cooperation to deal with Pyongyang and completely normalize their pact to share military intelligence.

Kwon’s visit is the first by a South Korean unification minister to Japan in 18 years. EFE


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