G-8 leaders demand North give up nuke program

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G-8 leaders demand North give up nuke program

The leaders of the Group of Eight industrial nations - Britain, France, Italy, Germany, Japan, Canada, the U.S. and Russia - jointly condemned North Korea’s nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs, threatening further sanctions on Pyongyang if it goes ahead with its missile tests.

Despite tension among the G-8 leaders regarding other pressing issues, including bloodshed in Syria, tax avoidance and combatting terrorism, as they concluded a two-day summit in Northern Ireland on Tuesday they were unified in a joint statement regarding North Korea. They demanded the regime give up its nuclear and missile weapons program and abide by international obligations. They also raised concerns regarding the safety of the repatriated North Korean defectors and said that sincere dialogue is needed with the North.

U.S. President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin also met on the sidelines of the summit on Monday and spoke on the North Korean problem amongst other bilateral issues.

Obama said their discussions on North Korea and Iran “were very productive,” and that they both “agreed to consult closely on the North Korean issue.”

As nuclear superpowers, Obama added that the U.S. and Russia have an obligation to “lead the world in both nuclear security issues and proliferation issues.”

Putin said, “We agreed to emphasize our interaction on all the directions” regarding North Korea.

The South Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs said yesterday, “Our government highly regards that important nations of the world, through the G-8 joint statement, sent a firm and clear message on North Korea regarding its nuclear problem and other issues.”

BY SARAH KIM [sarahkim@joongang.co.kr]

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