Japan Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida and French counterpart Laurent Fabius agreed in a meeting on Tuesday that North Korea should not be allowed to possess nuclear weapons, and that the international community must be consistent in sending that message to the hermit country. Given Pyongyang’s bellicose attitude in the past few months, both countries are convinced that nuclear weapons in North Korean hands would only give the isolated country more leverage to threaten other countries.
The international community, spearheaded by the United Nations, has employed strict and forceful sanctions on North Korea as it continued development in its nuclear program, going ahead with its nuclear test early this year, to the chagrin of a huge number of countries which have spoken against it. The sanctions then caused North Korea to start a barrage of aggressive behavior, which included almost daily threats of nuclear war and invasion, culminating in the preparation of a medium range Musudan ballistic missile for launch. The hermit nation has since then toned down on its threats and apparently moved the missile away from launch readiness preparations. France and Japan agree that for the stabilization of the region, the international community of nations must be vigilant against North Korea’s nuclear weapons development program.
During their Tokyo meeting, both foreign ministers also agreed to strengthen the exchange of information to ensure the safety of companies operating in Asia and Africa. Foreigners, including 10 Japanese nationals, died in a hostage crisis at a natural gas complex in Algeria in January. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, in an earlier meeting with Fabius, conveyed his gratitude to French President Francois Hollande for his assistance during the crisis. Both countries are prepping for the French leader’s visit to Japan in June.
Kishida also briefed Fabius on recent maritime issues in the Asia-Pacific region and how Japan interprets them, touching on China’s increasing assertiveness in the region and their ongoing territorial dispute about the Senkaku/Diaoyu island chain. Kishida is believed to have requested France to refrain from selling helicopter landing equipment to China, given that Beijing may install it on surveillance vessels which can enter Japanese waters around the disputed islands. France has reiterated its position that the equipment sold to China was not for military use and employs civilian technology, and as such still complies with the European Union ban on arms sales to China. Lastly, Kishida also proposed a “special partner relationship” agreement between Japan and France to be made formal on the occasion of President Francois Hollande’s visit to Japan between June 6 and 8, to which Fabius agreed.
[via Global Post]