(LEAD) Senior diplomats of S. Korea, U.S. and Japan to discuss N.K. nuclear issue
Senior foreign ministry officials from South Korea, the United States and Japan will meet in Tokyo next week to discuss further cooperation in dealing with North Korea's nuclear and missile threat, the foreign ministry here said Friday.
The trilateral meeting will be held on Thursday, bringing together South Korea's Vice Foreign Minister Lim Sung-nam and his American and Japanese counterparts, Tony Bliken and Shinsuke Sugiyama. The vice minister-level meeting marks the fifth of its kind following the first in Washington in April last year.
"The situation is graver than ever due to the North's continued provocations," the ministry said. "During the meeting, we will have an in-depth discussion on coordination among the three countries in the face of the North's threat and provocations, while seeking to intensify additional sanctions of our own and pressure against it."
Lim is planning to hold bilateral meetings with his American and Japanese counterparts on the sidelines of the event, the ministry said.
The diplomatic and defense chiefs of South Korea and the U.S. also recently held the "two-plus-two" gathering and annual Security Consultative Meeting (SCM) in Washington where they discussed cooperation against the growing threat from the North as well.
Since North Korea conducted its fifth and most powerful nuclear test to date in September, the United Nations Security Council is working on a fresh resolution to punish the country for defiantly pursuing the development of weapons of mass destruction.
Despite repeated warnings and condemnation from the international community, the North keeps carrying out tests of diverse types of missiles. On Thursday, it test-fired a missile believed to be a Musudan intermediate-range missile.
Earlier, South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se vowed to push for "stronger" sanctions than the ones previously introduced following the North's fourth nuclear test in January.
It is expected that South Korea, the U.S. and Japan will likely deliver a strong warning message against the North during the trilateral meeting.
Meanwhile, they will also discuss cooperation on a wide range of issues confronting the world such as cyber security, the environment, health and energy security, according to the ministry.
Source: Yonhap News Agency