- Title: JAPAN / FILE: Japan to put strong pressure on North Korea: prime minister
- Date: 1st July 2009
- Summary: PYONGYANG, NORTH KOREA (FILE - 2002) (REUTERS) MILITARY PARADE VARIOUS OF NORTH KOREAN SOLDIERS MARCHING NORTH KOREAN LEADER KIM JONG-IL APPLAUDING
- Embargoed: 16th July 2009 13:00
- Reuters ID: LVA3CCTXAGGRWA7Z2W929DU8H3U6
- Story Text: Japan plans to put "strong pressure" on North Korea in hopes of making the defiant neighbour understand that further provocation won't do it any good, Japan's prime minister said on Tuesday (June 30).
"It is necessary to put strong pressure on North Korea while we cooperate closely with the United States and South Korea, as well as China and Russia," Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso said during a speech on Japan's foreign policies at a Tokyo hotel.
"We need to show North Korea that it would not benefit from any further act of provocation," Aso told the audience who gathered for the annual meeting of the Tokyo-based Japan Institute of International Affairs.
Aso added, however, that Tokyo would always leave doors open to resolve North Korea's nuclear and missile issues through dialogue.
Aso's comments came shortly after that South Korea's defence minister said North Korea appeared to be enriching uranium, potentially giving the state that has twice tested a plutonium-based nuclear device another path to making atomic weapons.
North Korea earlier this month responded to U.N. punishment for its most recent nuclear test in May by saying it would start enriching uranium for a light-water reactor.
Experts said destitute North Korea lacks the technology and resources to build such a costly civilian reactor but may use the programme as a cover to enrich uranium for weapons.
North Korea, which has ample supplies of natural uranium, would be able to conduct an enrichment programme in underground or undisclosed facilities and away from the prying eyes of U.S. spy satellites.
The North's plutonium programme uses an ageing reactor and is centred at its Soviet-era Yongbyon nuclear plant, which has been watched by U.S. aerial reconnaissance for years.
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