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UPDATE3: G-8 slams N. Korea, vows additional steps if missile fired.

LONDON, April 11 Kyodo


Foreign ministers of the Group of Eight countries on Thursday condemned North Korea over its nuclear and missile development programs and provocative behavior and warned the group will take additional steps if Pyongyang fires missiles.

In a chair's statement released after their two-day meeting in London, the G-8 foreign ministers "condemned in the strongest possible terms" North Korea's active nuclear weapons development and ballistic missile program.

Welcoming a recent U.N. Security Council resolution adopted after North Korea's third nuclear test in February, the statement emphasized the importance of "full implementation of the resolution by the international community."

"Ministers supported the commitment in the resolution to strengthen the current sanctions regime and take further significant measures in the event of a further launch or nuclear test by the DPRK," the statement said, referring to the acronym for the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, the official name of North Korea.

British Foreign Secretary William Hague who hosted the gathering told a press conference, "We will see whether there is a missile test. If there is, we will be back to the security council advocating further measures."

"We don't specify what further significant measures are, but we are talking in the field of sanctions," Hague said. "We would discuss them at the Security Council, very importantly including China which has more leverage over DPRK than the G-8, he said."

The statement also criticized North Korea's "current aggressive rhetoric," saying "this will only serve to further isolate the DPRK."

The G-8 foreign ministers also urged North Korea to "engage in credible and authentic multilateral talks on denuclearization" and abide by its international obligations under all relevant U.N. resolutions and the 2005 joint statement of the six-party talks.

The G-8 ministers also expressed concern about North Korea's announcement that it intends to reopen its Yongbyon nuclear facility.

North Korea has been criticized for its nuclear weapons program at past G-8 foreign ministerial talks but Pyongyang's bellicose behavior is escalating, with the country threatening nuclear strikes against the United States and its allies.

The two-day gathering was held at a time when Japan, South Korea and the United States are poised for a possible missile launch by North Korea.

Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida led the discussion on North Korea by briefing other G-8 partners about Pyongyang's provocations and telling that the G-8 will never accept North Korea as a nuclear power.

After the G-8 meeting, Kishida told reporters Japan's position on North Korea was strongly supported by the G-8 members. "I think we were able to obtain a satisfying outcome," he said.

On Iran, the foreign ministers from Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia and the United States expressed their "deep concern" over the country's continued nuclear program.

While reaffirming it is desirable to resolve the Iranian nuclear issue diplomatically, the G-8 ministers noted that "talks cannot continue indefinitely."

On cybersecurity, the statement said the ministers agreed on the importance of international efforts to enhance trust, strengthening the fight against cybercrime and improve the security of the global digital environment.

Among other issues, the G-8 foreign ministers welcomed the Myanmar government's commitment to encourage responsible investment and pledged to continue support for the democratic transition and economic reform in the country.

They also urged the Myanmar government to hold peace negotiations with ethnic and religious minority groups.

As for international efforts to prevent sexual violence during conflicts, the statement said G-8 ministers "called for urgent action to address comprehensively the culture of impunity and to hold perpetrators to account for acts of sexual violence committed in armed conflict."

On Syria, the G-8 ministers voiced "deep concerns" over the deterioration of the situation in the country and reaffirmed their view that "any use of chemical weapons will demand a serious international response."

During their working dinner on Wednesday evening, Kishida told his fellow G-8 ministers that Tokyo supports humanitarian aid and reconstruction efforts in the war-ravaged Middle Eastern country while adding pressure on the embattled Syrian regime of President Bashar al-Assad, a Japanese official said.

The G-8 ministers also discussed maritime security, counterterrorism and the situation in North and West Africa.

Following the ministerial conference, the G-8 leaders will gather for their annual summit talks in Northern Ireland in June.
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Publication:Asian Political News
Date:Apr 16, 2013
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