Published : 2013-01-19 10:29
Updated : 2013-01-19 11:02
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her Japanese counterpart, Fumio Kishida, agreed Friday that the U.N. Security Council should work out a strong measure against North Korea for its December rocket launch "as expeditiously as possible." "On North Korea, we shared our joint commitment to strong action in the U.N. Security Council," Clinton said at a joint press conference with Kishida after their talks here.
It was the first meeting between the two since Japan embraced the conservative government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe last month.
"I also assured the foreign minister that we would continue to support Japan's efforts to return Japanese citizens who have been abducted by the DPRK (North Korea)," Clinton said.'
The Japanese minister also said, "Specifically referring to the missile launch last December, we agreed to continue with our close cooperation so that the U.N. Security Council takes effective measures as expeditiously as possible." Consultations in the council on the issue have been drawn out, apparently due to China's lukewarm stance.
Diplomatic sources said there has been some progress in recent days and a deal may be reached in the near future.
Kishida said he made clear Japan's "determination to further deepen our relationship with South Korea, taking the opportunity of birth of new governments in both Japan and South Korea."
President-elect Park Geun-hye of South Korea is scheduled to take office on Feb. 25.
Kishida also said he explained to Clinton "how seriously the new administration is tackling with the abduction issue and sought continued understanding and cooperation by the U.N." His trip to Washington is seen as intended to lay the groundwork for Abe's summit talks with President Barack Obama.
Obama will meet Abe in Washington in the third week of next month, according to Clinton. (YONHAP)