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BONN, Germany Feb 16 The United States, South
Korea and Japan issued a joint statement on Thursday condemning
North Korea's test firing of a ballistic missile and saying
Pyongyang should face an "even stronger" international response
for violating U.N. resolutions.
The statement, which also condemned Pyongyang's human rights
abuses, was released after U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson
met Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida and South Korean
Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se, on the sidelines of a meeting of
G20 foreign ministers.
"The ministers condemned in the strongest terms North
Korea's February 12, 2017 ballistic missile test, noting North
Korea's flagrant disregard for multiple United Nations Security
Council resolutions that expressly prohibit its ballistic
missile and nuclear programs," the statement said.
North Korea on Wednesday rejected a U.N. Security Council
statement that denounced its missile launch and said it was
exercising a sovereign right to self-defence.
The U.S., South Korean and Japanese ministers agreed to
press on with their security cooperation, to defend the global
nuclear non-proliferation regime and to respond firmly to any
further violations by North Korea.
Tillerson reaffirmed Washington's "steadfast" commitment to
defend Japan and South Korea, "backed by the full range of its
nuclear and conventional defense capabilities".
Tillerson and the other ministers did not respond when asked
at the start of their meeting whether the United States would
send a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system to
bolster Japan's defences.
The U.S. military is already deploying the Lockheed Martin
Corp system and its powerful Raytheon Co radar
to South Korea, a move that has greatly angered China.
The three ministers vowed to continue to focus global
attention on what they called "the systemic, widespread and
gross violations of human rights in North Korea".
The three allies also agreed to hold consultations in the
coming days on the ballistic missile and nuclear challenges
posed by North Korea.
The South Korean minister met Tillerson separately before
the group session, saying he viewed the discussion as "a good
opportunity at this critical juncture".
(Reporting by Andrea Shalal; Editing by Madeline Chambers and