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S. Korea, Japan agree to step up pressure on NK

Senior diplomats of South Korea and Japan agreed Wednesday to step up pressure on the North Korean regime in response to its evolving nuclear and missile threats, the foreign ministry here said Wednesday.

   South Korean Vice Foreign Minister Lim Sung-nam and his Japanese counterpart Shinsuke Sugiyama reached the agreement during talks in Tokyo ahead of a trilateral meeting with U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Tony Blinken, the ministry said.

   Lim and Sugiyama discussed the urgency of the North Korean nuclear issue following the country's fifth nuclear test last month and its various missile tests. They agreed to tighten sanctions and further pressure the regime in Pyongyang, the ministry said.

   The vice ministers also discussed recent developments in bilateral relations, including the two rounds of summit talks and three foreign ministerial meetings held this year.

   Lim said South Korea has begun distributing compensation money to victims of Japan's wartime sexual slavery under December's bilateral deal that called for Tokyo's payment of 1 billion yen (US$9.6 million) into a foundation set up for the South Korean victims.

   They agreed on the importance of faithfully implementing the deal and agreed to work for future-oriented ties, the ministry said. (Yonhap)