G7 declares North Korea is top priority

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G7 declares North Korea is top priority

Western powers in the Group of 7 meeting declared in a joint statement that North Korea was a “top priority” on the international agenda on nonproliferation and disarmament, and called on the international community to “redouble its efforts” to ensure the implementation of relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions.

The statement was part of a 15-point G7 Taormina Statement on the Fight Against Terrorism and Violent Extremism, laid out Saturday in Taormina, Italy, where the 43rd summit was held.

The two-day meeting began Friday and was attended by leaders from the U.S., Japan, France, Germany, Britain, Italy, Canada and the European Union, among other nations.

North Korea “increasingly poses new levels of threat” of a grave nature to international peace and stability and the non-proliferation regime through its repeated and ongoing breaches of international law, the joint statement read.

The group also said Pyongyang must immediately and fully comply with all relevant UN Security Council resolutions, which strictly prohibit North Korea from pursuing nuclear and missile development technology, and abandon the programs in a “complete, verifiable and irreversible manner.”

Pyongyang’s nuclear tests and ballistic missile launches were said to be condemned in the “strongest terms.”

The G7 leaders also urged North Korea to “address humanitarian and human rights concerns,” including the immediate resolution of the abductions issue.

At least four American citizens are known to be detained in North Korea on various charges including suspicion of “hostile acts” against the regime.

South Korea’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it “strongly welcomed” the G7 leaders’ declaration, noting the significance of the issue being raised on numerous fronts in the international society.

U.S. President Donald Trump met with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Friday in Italy and said the U.S. would work with its worldwide partners, including Japan and South Korea, to “increase pressure on North Korea” and demonstrate that North Korea’s “current path is not sustainable,” the White House said in a statement.

BY LEE SUNG-EUN [lee.sungeun@joongang.co.kr]

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