Japan, the United States and South Korea on Sunday affirmed closer coordination in the swift drafting of a new U.N. Security Council sanctions resolution on North Korea in response to its fifth and largest nuclear test earlier this month.
Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung Se also agreed to cooperate in strengthening each country's respective sanctions on North Korea, Kishida told reporters after their meeting on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly in New York.
In a joint statement issued after the trilateral meeting, the ministers condemned North Korea's "accelerated, systematic and unprecedented campaign to develop an operational nuclear capability," including the Sept. 9 nuclear test.
Pyongyang's "flagrant disregard for multiple United Nations Security Council Resolutions expressly prohibiting its ballistic missile and nuclear programs requires even stronger international pressure on the regime" of leader Kim Jong Un, the statement said.
Washington, Tokyo and Seoul are pushing for a new Security Council sanctions resolution after the latest provocation in defiance of U.N. sanctions that were tightened in March.
The three countries "must be in the driver's seat to lead the international debate" about the North Korean issue, Kishida told the meeting, part of which was open to the media.
"We must make North Korea understand that repeated provocations will isolate it from the international community and that there can be no bright future for it at all," he said.
Yun said North Korea "cannot continue to deride the Security Council and the United Nations," and that the Security Council "must swiftly adopt a robust new sanctions resolution and prove its credibility and authority."
According to the statement, the three ministers considered "ways to further restrict revenue sources" for North Korea's missile and nuclear weapons development.
Asked by reporters whether further U.N. restrictions would be imposed on North Korea's shipment of coal, iron and iron ore, the country's major export items, Kishida declined to comment and only said the three ministers "had a deep exchange of views."
At the same time, the ministers reaffirmed they "remain open to credible and authentic talks aimed at full and verifiable denuclearization of the DPRK," the statement said.
DPRK is the acronym of North Korea's formal name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.
Speaking at the meeting, Kerry said the United States remained deeply committed to the defense of Japan and South Korea, Washington's key Asian allies, and to "rolling back the provocative, reckless behavior of the DPRK."
Kerry urged Pyongyang to freeze its missile and nuclear programs immediately and return to denuclearization talks.
"The global community will not be intimidated and will not pull back from our obligations under the nonproliferation treaty and all of our international efforts to rein in nuclear weapons rather than see them proliferate," he said.
Kerry and Yun threw support behind Kishida's pledge for an early resolution to the issue of North Korea's abduction of Japanese nationals in the 1970s and 1980s.