Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe spoke with U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday and agreed on the need for more action on North Korea.
Nikki Haley, U.S. Ambassador to the UN, said in a statement China must decide if it is willing to back imposing stronger U.N. sanctions on North Korea over Friday night’s long-range missile test, the North’s second this month.
Any new U.N. Security Council resolution “that does not significantly increase the international pressure on North Korea is of no value”, Haley said, adding that Japan and South Korea also needed to do more.
Abe told reporters after his conversation with Trump that repeated efforts by the international community to find a peaceful solution to the North Korean issue had yet to bear fruit in the face of Pyongyang’s unilateral “escalation”.
“International society, including Russia and China, need to take this seriously and increase pressure,” Abe said.
He said Japan and the United States would take steps toward concrete action but did not give details.
Abe and Trump did not discuss military action against North Korea, nor what would constitute the crossing of a “red line” by Pyongyang, Deputy Chief Cabinet spokesman Koichi Hagiuda told reporters.
A White House statement after the phone call said the two 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 white house said Trump “reaffirmed our ironclad commitment” to defend Japan and South Korea from any attack, “using the full range of United States capabilities”.
Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said the talk between Abe and Trump lasted for about 50 minutes.
“The role that China can play is extremely important,” he told a news conference.
“Japan intends to call on those countries involved, including the UN, the United States and South Korea to start, but also China and Russia, to take on additional duties and actions to increase pressure,” Suga said, declining to give details about what those steps might be.
North Korea said on Saturday it had conducted another successful test of an intercontinental ballistic missile that proved its ability to strike the U.S. mainland, drawing a sharp warning from Trump and a rebuke from China.
Trump later wrote on Twitter that he was “very disappointed” in China and that Beijing profits from U.S. trade but had done “nothing” for the United States with regards to North Korea, something he would not allow to continue.
Chinese Vice Commerce Minister Qian Keming, asked at a news conference in Beijing about Trump’s tweets, said there was no link between the North Korea issue and China-U.S. trade.