MOSCOW – Japan’s Foreign Minister Taro Kono asked Russia on Friday to exert more pressure on North Korea to force it to stop its nuclear and ballistic missiles programs.
At a joint press conference after meeting his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov, Kono said Japan believed it was necessary to use all means to step up pressure on North Korea to halt its nuclear program and missile launches.
Earlier, in an interview to Interfax news agency, Kono said that Moscow should revoke the work visas of the 25,000 North Koreans working in Russia after the latest sanctions adopted by the United Nations Security Council against Pyongyang.
In response, Russian Labor Minister Maxim Topilin said that the work permits of those workers will not be canceled since Moscow believes the measure adopted by the UN only affects new contracts.
He added that those who were working in Russia before the adoption of the new measures would be allowed to remain but that there could be no new contracts with North Korean workers after Sept. 11 of this year, when the new sanctions were adopted.
Following his meeting with Lavrov, Kono also expressed support for the United States’ decision to employ all means of containment to defend South Korea and Japan, including the military route, which US President Donald Trump has threatened to use against North Korea.
Lavrov warned that all experts agreed that any military scenario could have catastrophic consequences and that a possible armed conflict could lead to hundreds of thousands or even over half a million casualties on the first day itself.
The Russian head of diplomacy reiterated that the militarization of northeast Asia by Washington and its regional allies (Japan and South Korea) was “disproportionate” to the threat from the regime of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, especially the deployment by the US of its anti-missile system in that region.
At the same time, he stressed that Russia will not tolerate North Korea’s nuclear and missile “adventures” but added that Russia and China as well as several other countries also insist that other points of the UN resolution, which demand the resumption of political negotiations, also be fulfilled.