Japan’s Abe seeks Baltic support against North Korea
VILNIUS – Agence France-Presse
Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Jan. 13 urged Baltic NATO states to support pressure on North Korea, as he hammered home his hawkish message that Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile programs pose a global threat.
Despite a recent cooling of tensions in the run-up to the Winter Olympics in South Korea, Shinzo Abe has insisted on “maximizing pressure” on the North.
“We should work closely together to maintain and strengthen a rule of law-based international order on North Korea, which is now a threat to the global community,” Abe told reporters in Lithuania’s capital Vilnius.
His Lithuanian counterpart Saulius Skvernelis voiced support as did Latvian Prime Minister Maris Kucinskis with whom Abe met earlier in the day in Latvia’s capital Riga.Briefing reporters, Japanese Foreign Ministry spokesman Norio Maruyama said that although the threat posed by Pyongyang was “unprecedented”, the full implementation of U.N. sanctions would have “a very strong effect on North Korea.”
New U.N. sanctions passed against North Korea last month ban the supply of nearly 75 percent of refined oil products to Pyongyang and cap crude deliveries among other measures.Abe kicked off his visit in fellow Baltic eurozone state Estonia on Jan. 12, where he also discussed deepening cybersecurity and economic ties.Abe is the first sitting Japanese leader to visit the Baltic states and will also visit Estonia, Bulgaria, Serbia and Romania before returning to Tokyo on Jan. 17.