Japan, China, South Korea agree to urge North Korea to stop provocation

Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida (centre), Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi (left) and South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se posing for photographers before the official banquet of the trilateral foreign minister's meeting in Tokyo on Aug
Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida (centre), Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi (left) and South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se posing for photographers before the official banquet of the trilateral foreign minister's meeting in Tokyo on Aug 23. PHOTO: EPA

TOKYO (REUTERS) – Japan, China and South Korea agreed to urge North Korea to refrain from provocation and follow UN Security Council resolutions, after the country’s latest missile launch towards Japan early on Wednesday (Aug 24). 

“We have confirmed that we will urge North Korea to exercise self-restraint regarding its provocative action, and to observe the

UN Security Council’s resolutions,” Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida told a news conference after hosting a trilateral meeting with his Chinese and South Korean counterparts.

A North Korean submarine fired a ballistic missile on Wednesday that flew about 500 km (311 miles) towards Japan, a show of improving technological capability for the isolated country that has conducted a series of launches in defiance of UN sanctions.

Kishida said the launch was "absolutely unacceptable" in his opening remarks, adding that the three countries should closely cooperate and lead the global effort to deal with North Korea.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi earlier called for calm. "We hope that (the situation) will not become more tense and complicated," he told reporters in Tokyo ahead of the trilateral talks, Jiji Press reported.

The talks also start as Japan, China and South Korea are themselves at odds over territorial disputes and a US missile defence system.

The ministers - China's Wang, host Kishida and South Korea's Yun Byung Se - held hands for photographs at the start of the meeting.

They met for dinner at a Tokyo hotel on Tuesday ahead of the talks, which come in the run-up to a Group of 20 summit in China early next month.

Sino-Japanese tensions over a territorial dispute have risen this month, while China and South Korea have sparred over the planned deployment in the latter country of a US anti-missile system.

Japan and China are locked in a long-running dispute over uninhabited islets in the East China Sea called the Senkaku in Japan and the Diaoyu in China.

Tokyo has lodged more than two dozen protests through diplomatic channels since Aug 5, saying there have been about 30 intrusions by Chinese vessels into its territorial waters.

Separately, China has complained about the planned deployment of the US Terminal High Altitude Area Defence (Thaad) system in South Korea, arguing the missile shield damages its own security interests and will heighten regional tension.

South Korea, wary of offending China, had wavered about the installation but went ahead in the face of North Korea's continued missile development.

China is "resolutely opposed", Mr Wang told reporters after holding a bilateral meeting with South Korea's Yun, Jiji reported.