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N. Korea regarded as ‘serious threat’ / Govt paper calls for maximum pressure

The Yomiuri ShimbunThe government’s “Diplomatic Bluebook,” which was presented at a Cabinet meeting Tuesday, points out that North Korea’s development of nuclear weapons and missiles is a serious threat to Japan.

Foreign Minister Taro Kono presented the 2018 version of the annual document at a morning meeting.

The blue book states that North Korea’s development of nuclear weapons and missiles “has been an unprecedentedly serious and imminent threat to the peace and stability of Japan and the international community.”

To resolve the issue, the document emphasizes that the government “shall raise pressure on North Korea to the maximum level using all available means, while closely cooperating with the United States and South Korea and collaborating with [other] countries concerned, including China and Russia.”

Regarding the abduction of Japanese nationals by North Korea, the blue book demands that Pyongyang implement the Japan-North Korea agreement reached in Stockholm in 2014. In the agreement, North Korea promised to again conduct investigations into the abduction victims.

The government “demands North Korea resolve the issue quickly by using pressure from the international community as leverage,” according to the document.

Regarding Japan-South Korea relations, the blue book criticizes the South Korean government for its January announcement of a new policy on the 2015 Japan-South Korea agreement. The agreement stipulates that the issue of so-called wartime comfort women has been resolved “finally and irreversibly.”

The blue book says the government “can never accept [South Korea’s] demand for additional measures.”

“Coordination and cooperation between Japan and South Korea are essential for peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region,” it reads.

However, a statement included in the document until last year stating that South Korea is Japan’s “most important neighbor which shares strategic interests” was deleted this year.

The document clearly says that South Korea’s effective control of the Takeshima islands in Shimane Prefecture is an “illegal occupation.”

The document states that Japan’s ties with China constitute “one of the most important bilateral relationships.”

High-level dialogue with China has picked up, including meetings between state leaders and foreign ministers. The blue book concludes that “momentum for improving relations has grown considerably.”Speech

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