Blinken, Japanese counterpart share concerns on North Korea

Blinken, Japanese counterpart share concerns on North Korea
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Secretary of State Antony BlinkenAntony BlinkenPentagon, State Department square off on Afghanistan accountability US should call out Nigeria's horrendous religious freedom record Biden struggles to rein in Saudi Arabia amid human rights concerns MORE and his Japanese counterpart “shared concerns” about North Korea in a call on Wednesday.

Blinken spoke with Japanese Foreign Minister Motegi Toshimitsu to congratulate him on being reappointed to the role, according to a statement from State Department spokesperson Ned Price. 

During the call, Blinken and Motegi maintained that the U.S.-Japan alliance is “the cornerstone of peace, security, and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific and beyond,” the statement said. 

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“Additionally, the Secretary and the Foreign Minister shared their concerns about the DPRK’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs,” Price said referring to North Korea by its official name of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

The two “reaffirmed their commitment to address and resolve these issues through U.S.-Japan-Republic of Korea trilateral cooperation towards complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula,” Price continued.

North Korea resumed missile tests last month, notably firing two rounds of ballistic missiles from the Korean Peninsula into the Sea of Japan. The move drew swift condemnation from Japan.

Blinken and Motegi spoke by telephone for about 15 minutes, according to a separate statement from Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Both sides exchanged a “wide range of views on regional issues,” including North Korea and China, as well as climate change.  

Earlier this week, President BidenJoe BidenManchin lays down demands for child tax credit: report Abrams targets Black churchgoers during campaign stops for McAuliffe in Virginia Pentagon, State Department square off on Afghanistan accountability MORE spoke with new Japanese Prime Minister Kishida Fumio to congratulate him on his election.

According to a readout of the call, Biden said he “looks forward to strengthening the relationship in the years ahead given the critical role our countries play in advancing our common vision of a free and open Indo-Pacific region.”

—Updated Friday at 3:06 p.m.