(* This is a provisional translation by an external company for reference purpose only. The original text is in Japanese.)
Press Conference by Minister for Foreign Affairs Hirofumi Nakasone
Date: Tuesday, June 2, 2009, 9:55 a.m.
Place: In front of the Ministers' Room in the House
- North Korean Issues (Visit to Japan by Mr. James B. Steinberg, Deputy Secretary of State of the United States)
1. North Korean Issues (Visit to Japan by Mr. James B. Steinberg, Deputy Secretary of State of the United States)
What was discussed at the Japan-US High-level Consultation between the representatives for North Korean issues yesterday?
Considering current discussions at the UN Security Council on its resolution regarding North Korea, we exchanged our views on such issues as how to handle North Korean issues from here on. We shared the view that it was important for the two countries to maintain thorough and close communication. Since it seems that Mr. Steinberg and the rest of the delegation will visit the ROK and China as well, I believe that based on all of this, he will sum up the opinions of the Japanese and US Governments in a comprehensive manner. I believe that for our part, we have let him fully understand our thoughts.
According to media reports, there are indications that North Korea is going to launch ballistic missiles again. In your opinion, was the US side's attitude on this very severe?
There was no talk of this at yesterday's meeting. North Korea just conducted a nuclear test, so if this were to take place, it would be a very serious matter. I myself am aware of the media reports, and the Government, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, is also gathering information as its regular task. If missiles were to be launched, it would be in clear contravention of UN Security Council resolutions, therefore I believe it would be natural for the international community to take a strong unified response towards North Korea.
Yesterday, you met the US delegation for North Korean affairs and you received a courtesy call. What was your impression from the US side regarding their sense of urgency?
We exchanged our opinions in an extremely business-like manner during the meeting. A nuclear test is a serious threat not only to North-East Asia, but to the entire international community. In this sense, it is important to make North Korea comply with UN resolutions and return to the Six-Party Talks. We discussed what we should do to make this happen. Of course each country is placing a great deal of importance on the issue of North Korea.
Regarding the Six-Party Talks, there are voices arguing that the role of the Six-Party Talks should be reviewed. What is your opinion on this?
Judging from North Korea's responses, I believe we have some difficulties in the Six-Party Talks either in its resumption or in its operation. However, I regret to tell you that I cannot comment on the details of our talks with the US.
I believe that you talked directly with Deputy Secretary of State Mr. Steinberg. Did you get the impression that the dialogue-oriented stance of the US towards North Korea is changing?
There has always been "dialogue" and "pressure." I believe that "pressure" is what is in mind regarding the resolution and the like. We must balance our actions. So it is not a matter of whether there was some kind of change or not. The consultation was an exchange of opinions with the US and we discussed in detail matters such as how the US will act going forward.
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