BRUSSELS (AFP) - The EU and Japan on Thursday (July 6) called for further sanctions against North Korea after Pyongyang tested an intercontinental ballistic missile in defiance of repeated United Nations resolutions.
The test has racked up tensions in the region pitting Washington, Tokyo and Seoul against China, Pyongyang's last remaining major ally.
US President Donald Trump earlier Thursday urged the international community to ensure North Korea faced the "consequences" of its action while warning he was considering a "severe" response.
EU president Donald Tusk said after talks with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Brussels on a landmark free trade accord that both sides shared basic values about how a rules-based global order should work.
Against this backdrop, they "agreed to call on the international community to strengthen measures aimed at further restricting the transfer of relevant items and technologies as well as funding for North Korea's nuclear and ballistic missile programmes."
"In this regard, we appeal for the early adoption of a new and comprehensive UN Security Council resolution," Tusk told a press conference with Abe and European Commission head Jean-Claude Juncker.
In an accompanying joint statement, the three said they shared "the view that North Korea, a top priority on the international agenda, increasingly poses a new level of threat to international peace and security." "North Korea must refrain from any further provocations that further increase regional and international tensions," they added.
At a separate meeting with Abe at Nato headquarters in Brussels, alliance chief Jens Stoltenberg highlighted the gravity of the threat.
"Pyongyang continues its nuclear and ballistic missile tests and the missile ranges are increasing," Stoltenberg told reporters alongside the Japanese premier.
"All of these nuclear and missile tests are a clear breach of UN Security Council Resolutions and a threat to international peace and security," he said.
North Korea must stop the tests, abandon its missile and nuclear programmes and "engage in real dialogue with the international community," he added.
For his part, Abe said he wanted to boost cooperation between Nato and Japan "because the security environment has become more difficult," as shown by North Korea's nuclear and missile ambitions, and by tensions in the East and South China Seas.
Abe did not cite China by name but his remarks clearly reflected Tokyo's deep unease over a series of bitter maritime disputes of its own and other countries with Beijing.
China meanwhile warned against "words and deeds" that could heighten tensions over North Korea and pressed again for negotiations.