Abe in­creases Euro­pean ties amid N. Korea ten­sions

Fiji Sun - - Asia News - Tokyo:

Ja­panese Prime Min­is­ter Shinzo Abe and his Lat­vian coun­ter­part Maris Kucin­ski agreed on Satur­day to co-op­er­ate in adding pres­sure on North Korea to give up its pur­suit of nu­clear and mis­sile ca­pa­bil­i­ties.

The two lead­ers also af­firmed in their meet­ing in the Lat­vian cap­i­tal Riga the need to pro­mote eco­nomic ties by tak­ing ad­van­tage of Latvia’s po­si­tion as a lo­gis­tics cen­tre in the Baltic re­gion, Ja­panese of­fi­cials said.

As Mr Abe called for a tough ap­proach to Kim Jong-un’s gov­ern­ment, Mr Kucin­ski said at a joint press con­fer­ence that he “shares the same view” on the im­por­tance to press North Korea to aban­don its nu­clear pro­gramme.

The Ja­panese premier is try­ing to step up pres­sure on Py­ongyang to rein in its nu­clear am­bi­tions through talks with for­eign lead­ers. Mr Abe and Mr Kucin­ski also agreed on the need to main­tain mar­itime or­der based on the rule of law amid China’s as­sertive­ness in the Asia-Pa­cific re­gion.

They af­firmed a plan for Lat­vian De­fence Min­is­ter Rai­monds Bergma­nis to visit Ja­pan in Fe­bru­ary to pro­mote dis­cus­sions on se­cu­rity. They dis­cussed strength­en­ing re­la­tions be­tween Ja­pan and the Baltic states, in­clud­ing Es­to­nia and Lithua­nia, the of­fi­cials said. The four coun­tries will aim to hold the first round of di­a­logue later in 2018 or early in 2019.

Mr Abe ar­rived in Latvia – the first Ja­panese prime min­is­ter to visit the coun­try – for the sec­ond leg of his six-na­tion Euro­pean tour fol­low­ing Es­to­nia, where Abe met Pres­i­dent Ker­sti Kalju­laid and Prime Min­is­ter Juri Ratas and dis­cussed bi­lat­eral co-op­er­a­tion on cy­ber­se­cu­rity.

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