TOKYO – The Japanese government is planning a trilateral meeting with the United States and South Korea as early as next month to solidify a common stance on the North Korean nuclear standoff, Kyodo News agency reported Thursday.
The meeting will most likely occur in Seoul, the South Korean capital, Kyodo said citing unidentified government officials.
South Korea has differed with the United States and Japan over U.N. sanctions imposed against North Korea for its first-ever nuclear test this earlier this month, and the meeting is aimed at enhancing cooperation among the allies, the report said.
The goal is to lay the groundwork for working-level meetings with the three and Russia and China, on the sidelines of November's Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in Vietnam, Kyodo said.
Japan wants the trilateral to reaffirm the demand that the North Korean nuclear crisis be resolved through six-party talks that include North Korea, South Korea, the United States, Japan, China and Russia, according to the report.
North Korea has rejected the six-party format, saying it first wants the United States to lift financial restrictions imposed against the country. It has also been pushing for direct bilateral talks with Washington, a demand the United States has refused.
On Wednesday, South Korea said it formed a task force to look at how to impose U.N. sanctions on North Korea for its nuclear test, while the communist nation warned it would take countermeasures against any such move by the South.
The U.N. Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution sanctioning the North for its Oct. 9 nuclear test, but South Korea — a major aid provider to the impoverished North — has been reluctant to adopt stern measures against its volatile neighbor.
The U.N. resolution calls for all member countries to state how they plan to implement sanctions on the North within 30 days from its Oct. 14 adoption.