North Korea threat is 'critical, imminent': Japan

North Korea threat is 'critical, imminent': Japan

Onodera's remarks underscored the deep concern in Tokyo after North Korean weapons tests, including test firing missiles over Japan, as Pyongyang seeks to develop a nuclear-tipped missile capable of reaching the United States.

They are due to meet with their counterparts from the United States, China, Japan, South Korea, India, Australia, Russia and New Zealand on Tuesday when North Korea, the disputed South China Sea and terrorism are expected to top the agenda.

Apparently, the North has its own reasons for more provocations, given that it's trying to acquire dependable intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) with miniaturized nuclear warheads, the source pointed out.

The three ministers strongly condemned North Korea's ongoing provocative actions, according to a press statement.

The three ministers reaffirmed that freedom of navigation and overflight must be ensured, and that all disputes should be resolved in a peaceful manner in accordance with the universally recognized principles of global law. "We would make all efforts necessary to resolve the issue in a diplomatic and economic way". They also committed to continue missile warning and anti-submarine warfare exercises.

The three sides will issue a joint press statement to sum up the results of their discussions, he added.

The ministers committed to continue efforts to backstop the worldwide community's efforts to curb North Korea's weapons of mass destruction programs and their means of delivery, the statement said. He said defense ministers bring a special perspective to the problem. South Korea's defense minister, Song, said that North Korea's behavior is "becoming worse and worse". Onodera sounded the alarm on North Korea's growing nuclear and ballistic missile capabilities and endorsed Washington's view to consider "all options" on the table.

But even some Trump advisers say USA military options are limited when Pyongyang could launch an artillery barrage on the South Korean capital Seoul - only around 50 kilometers from the heavily fortified border and home to 10 million people.

US Defense Secretary James Mattis yesterday praised the Philippines for its successes in battling Islamic State supporters, as he began an Asian trip aimed at reaffirming American support for regional allies. -South Korea alliance is the linchpin of peace and security in the Asia-Pacific region, White said.

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