Japan not satisfied with Pyongyang’s pledge, will continue pressure

Japan’s Defence Minister Itsunori Onodera at a news conference (Reuters Pic)

WASHINGTON: Japan is not satisfied with North Korea’s pledge to halt nuclear tests and intercontinental missile launches, its defence minister said on Saturday, warning that Tokyo will continue to put maximum pressure on Pyongyang.

“We can’t be satisfied,” Itsunori Onodera told reporters in Washington, saying North Korea did not mention “abandonment of short-range and medium-range ballistic missiles”.

He added that Japan will not change its policy of putting pressure on Pyongyang for the “ultimate abandonment of weapons of mass destruction, nuclear arms and missiles”.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said Saturday that his country would halt nuclear tests and intercontinental missile launches, a move welcomed by US President Donald Trump and South Korea.

Pyongyang’s declaration, long sought by Washington, comes less than a week before Kim meets South Korean President Moon Jae-in for a summit, ahead of a much-anticipated encounter with Trump himself.