Japan, U.S. vow close cooperation on North Korea

TOKYO (Jiji Press) — Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi and U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken agreed on Wednesday to work closely together in responding to North Korea’s repeated ballistic missile launches.

The two ministers, speaking over the phone, shared grave concerns over tensions in Ukraine and confirmed their countries’ support to its sovereignty and territorial integrity.

In their 35-minute conversation held at the request of the Japanese side, Hayashi and Blinken expressed serious concerns about advances in Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile technologies.

They confirmed the significance of cooperation among Japan, the United States and South Korea to achieve the full denuclearization of North Korea.

Hayashi and Blinken also shared the view that Japan and the United States need to strengthen the alliance’s deterrence and response capabilities.

Speaking to reporters after the talks with Blinken, Hayashi said Tokyo and Washington are in agreement to take strong actions if Russia attacks Ukraine as Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and U.S. President Joe Biden agreed last month.

The Japanese foreign minister declined to say whether he and Blinken discussed possible economic sanctions against Russia.