MANILA — World leaders who attended a regional summit here shared an “unprecedented sense of crisis” over North Korea’s continuous development of nuclear weapons, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Tuesday.
“Throughout the series of meetings, the issue of greatest concern was North Korea. At the East Asia Summit, the leaders shared an unprecedented sense of crisis,” Abe said in a press conference.
The East Asia Summit is a forum where Southeast Asian nations discuss regional issues with China, Japan, Russia and the US.
During the EAS, Abe rallied his counterparts to ”unite to ramp up pressure against North Korea to the maximum level.”
“We should create a situation in which North Korea comes to us to ask for dialogue in exchange for changing their policies," Abe said.
“There has to be committment from North Korea to fully abandon its nuclear program.”
In August, North Korea fired ballistic missiles that flew over Japan and landed in the Pacific waters off the northern region of Hokkaido.
In September, the United Nations Security Council issued new sanctions against North Korea to force Pyongyang to abandon its nuclear and ballistic missiles tests.
North Korea responded by launching another ballistic missile over Japan on September 15.
Abe said Pyongyang continues to hurl “rhetorical provocations” against the US and its regional allies.
Abe said Japan will now cooperate with China and Russia — 2 of North Korea’s major trading partners — to closely watch Pyongyang.