In a phone conversation with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, President Donald Trump agreed to “take all necessary measures to protect” Japan after North Korea’s latest ICBM launch, the Associated Press reported.
During the call, which took place late Sunday night Washington time and mid-morning Monday Tokyo time, the two leaders also struck a deal to pursue further action against Pyongyang after the Friday launch.
After his conversation with Trump, the Japanese prime minister told reporters that efforts to find a peaceful resolution to North Korea’s recent spate of missile tests and unilateral “escalation” had failed and that more pressure had to be brought to bear on Pyongyang.
“International society, including Russia and China, need to take this seriously and increase pressure,” Abe said, according to Reuters. He added that Japan would be increasing its defensive capabilities against a North Korean attack in cooperation with the United States and pledged that he would keep his people safe.
A White House statement issued after the phone call said both leaders “agreed that North Korea poses a grave and growing direct threat to the United States, Japan, the Republic of Korea, and other countries near and far.”
The president’s phone call with Abe came at the end of a fast-moving weekend in Washington on the North Korea front, following Pyongyang’s Friday test of a new ICBM purportedly capable of reaching most of the U.S. mainland.
On Saturday, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley released a strongly worded statement saying the United States would not be seeking an emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council and hinting that a more significant response was in the offing.
“There is no point in having an emergency session if it produces nothing of consequence,” Ambassador Haley said, according to the Washington Examiner.
“An additional Security Council resolution that does not significantly increase the international pressure on North Korea is of no value. In fact, it is worse than nothing, but it sends the message to the North Korean dictator that the international community is unwilling to seriously challenge him.”
“The time for talk is over,” Haley added.
CBS News had reported earlier in the weekend that the United States would be seeking a Security Council meeting to discuss additional sanctions, which may “include restricting oil imports, increasing air and maritime restrictions and naming additional officials to sanctions freezing assets and banning travel.”
Diplomatic sources also told CBS News that the U.S. would press to put Kim Jong Un’s name on the frozen assets and travel ban lists, a move which would be vehemently opposed by China.
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