Costa Rica: N. Korea poses imminent global threat

The Japan News

Costa Rican Minister of Foreign Affairs and Worship Manuel Gonzalez talks to The Japan News at the Costa Rican Embassy in Tokyo on Friday.

By Michinobu Yanagisawa / Japan News Assistant EditorNorth Korea’s nuclear and missile tests pose an imminent global threat, requiring all U.N. member states to exert pressure on Pyongyang, Costa Rican Minister of Foreign Affairs and Worship Manuel Gonzalez said in an interview with The Japan News on Friday.

“Every country should get together to put pressure on North Korea. The threat is real and imminent,” Gonzalez said in the interview at the Costa Rican Embassy in Tokyo. Referring to the hermit’s state’s provocations, he also said: “What North Korea is doing is absolutely unacceptable. We condemn their actions in the strongest possible ways.”

The 49-year-old foreign minister discussed the North Korean issue in a meeting with his Japanese counterpart Taro Kono earlier in the day.

With Costa Rica — an unarmed democracy since the late 1940s — playing a leading role in nuclear disarmament, Gonzalez warned in the interview that North Korea may trigger a global expansion of nuclear threats. “[The North’s tests] can encourage other nuclear powers to do the same [as the North],” he said.

Enjoying close relations with the United States, Costa Rica has had no diplomatic ties with North Korea since 1983, but became the first Central American country to recognize China in 2007. China and other countries “have a lot of responsibility" for the North Korean issue, the foreign minister said. North Korea is likely to be on the agenda in his meeting this week with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi in Costa Rica, Gonzalez said.

At a U.N. conference chaired by a Costa Rican diplomat, 122 countries — including Costa Rica — voted in July to adopt a treaty prohibiting the use, possession and development of nuclear weapons, despite a boycott by all countries with nuclear weapons as well as NATO countries and Japan, which are under the U.S. nuclear umbrella.

Gonzalez argued that nations in favor of the treaty and those against have “completely different perspectives.” “Nuclear powers use the situation of North Korea as an example of why this treaty should not be implemented,” the foreign minister said.

In the interview, he also discussed the commitment by Costa Rica — a country rich in biodiversity — to tackling climate change issues. Calling Washington’s announced withdrawal from the Paris agreement to limit greenhouse gases “very discouraging,” the foreign minister called for engaging U.S. states and cities at the COP 23 U.N. climate change conference in November in Germany to discuss the next steps after the Paris agreement. “It’s frustrating but there are a lot of things we can do,” Gonzalez said.Speech

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