Statement condemning North Korea adopted: G8 foreign ministers’ meeting

Warning against provocative behavior issued

by Junpei Fujimura, Staff Writer

LONDON – On April 11, the meeting of the Group of Eight (G8) foreign ministers held in London adopted a chairman’s statement in which the ministers “condemned in the strongest possible terms the continued development of its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs” by North Korea. At a press conference following the meeting, its chairman, William Hague, Foreign Secretary of the United Kingdom, indicated that sanctions would be tightened. “If the DPRK [North Korea] conducts another missile launch or nuclear test, we have committed ourselves to take further significant measures,” he said.

The statement by the foreign ministers called on North Korea to abide by the past resolutions of the United Nations Security Council and warned that provocative behavior would only lead to further isolation.

The fact that the G8, including Russia, pulled together to hammer out a strong message, clearly showed its desire to ease tensions in East Asia, but a backlash by North Korea is inevitable.

The chairman’s statement also confirmed the ministers’ intention to create the conditions for a world without nuclear weapons and stated that weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery pose a major threat.

The statement also expressed concern about North Korea’s violations of human rights, including the issue of its abductions, and stressed the need to strengthen efforts to find a solution to the problem. Concern about the issue of Iran’s nuclear development was also expressed.

The G8 Foreign Ministers’ meeting was attended by Fumio Kishida, Japan’s foreign minister. Prior to the meeting he held talks with the foreign ministers of five countries, including the United States and Russia. Mr. Kishida, a native of Hiroshima, outlined Japan’s stance on nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation and called on the other nations to closely cooperate on the problem of North Korea.

Firm measures against North Korea

Japan’s Foreign Minister, U.S. Secretary of State agree on need for close cooperation

On the evening of April 10 (the early morning of April 11, Japan time) Japan’s Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida talked with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in London prior to the Group of Eight (G8) Foreign Ministers’ summit. The two officials agreed that their nations would cooperate closely on the issue of North Korea, which has demonstrated its intention to launch a missile, and that they would continue to take firm measures to address the situation.

“North Korea must be made to understand that acts of provocation are not in their interest,” Mr. Kishida said. Mr. Kerry said that tough financial sanctions must be imposed and demonstrated his recognition that current sanctions are effective.

The two officials also discussed the issue of North Korea’s nuclear development. North Korea has declared that it will resume operations at its graphite-moderated nuclear reactor in Yongbyon. This plant can produce plutonium, which can be used to make nuclear weapons. In response to this development, Mr. Kishida said, “I am extremely concerned. I will continue to work closely with the U.S.” Mr. Kerry said he would like the U.S. and Japan to thoroughly discuss the denuclearization of North Korea.

With regard to Iran’s nuclear development, Mr. Kerry hailed Japan’s cooperation, including its restrictions on imports of oil from that nation. Mr. Kishida said, “We will continue to apply pressure on their nuclear development through ongoing cooperation with the international community.”

Mr. Kishida also met with John Baird, Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, who stated that he supported Japan’s stance on the problem of North Korea. Mr. Kerry was scheduled to make a swing through Japan, China and South Korea after attending the G8 Foreign Ministers’ meeting. During his visit to Japan on April 14 and 15, he will meet individually with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Mr. Kishida.

(Originally published on April 12, 2013)