Japan confirmed with the United States and South Korea on Tuesday that they should coordinate moves with other countries concerned over North Korea, including possible sanctions by the U.N. Security Council, following Pyongyang's third nuclear test in defiance of council resolutions.
The confirmation, announced by Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida, came as he held separate telephone talks with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and South Korean foreign minister Kim Sung Hwan on Tuesday night.
Kishida and his Australian counterpart Bob Carr separately agreed during a phone conversation on Tuesday night that Japan and Australia, the latter of which currently sits on the 15-member Security Council as a nonpermanent member, should work closely, including at the council, over North Korea's latest move.
Speaking to reporters, Kishida said that in the telephone talks he had told his counterparts that Japan believes China is an important player in bringing about new Security Council action against North Korea and noted the need to push China over the matter.
During their conversation, Kishida and Kerry also confirmed that Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and U.S. President Barack Obama should exchange views on the North Korean nuclear issue when Abe visits the United States later this month.
Kishida added that the Japanese and U.S. leaders will also confirm the importance of the Japan-U.S. alliance during their summit, while noting that the U.S. side on Tuesday reaffirmed its support for Japan on the issue of North Korea's past abductions of Japanese nationals.
Earlier Tuesday, Kishida called North Korea's third nuclear test the same day a "grave challenge" to the authority of the Security Council, expressing hope the council will swiftly adopt a new resolution imposing fresh sanctions on Pyongyang.
Calling the test a "clear violation" of relevant Security Council resolutions banning such a test by North Korea, Kishida said Japan has already asked South Korea, which is chairing the council in New York this month, to swiftly hold consultations among the 15 council members.
"We intend to strengthen coordination with the United States, South Korea, China and Russia, and advance cooperation" with other council members as well as the international community, he told reporters, adding that the efforts include having the council adopt a new resolution entailing fresh sanctions.
Also Tuesday, Shinsuke Sugiyama, director general of the Japanese Foreign Ministry's Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau, agreed with Wu Dawei, China's special representative for Korean Peninsula affairs, that the two countries should cooperate in denuclearizing the peninsula, according to ministry officials.
The two also agreed that Sugiyama should visit China next week, apparently to discuss possible responses to North Korea's nuclear test and China's alleged radar lock-on incidents last month.
Sugiyama also exchanged opinions the same day with his counterparts from the United States, South Korea and Russia, three of the other countries involved in the so-called six-party talks aimed at ending North Korea's nuclear ambitions.
During a telephone conversation with Sugiyama, Wu stressed that China made diplomatic efforts until the "last second" to dissuade North Korea from conducting the nuclear test, according to the officials.