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Japan agrees with EU, Canada to maintain pressure on N. Korea

DINARD, France — Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono agreed with the European Union, France, Britain and Canada on Friday to maintain pressure on North Korea so as to get the country to denuclearize.


In separate meetings in Dinard, western France, Kono affirmed the commitment with his EU, French and British counterparts to fully enforce U.N. sanctions on North Korea, according to a Japanese Foreign Ministry official.


Kono also affirmed close coordination in blocking Pyongyang’s attempts to conduct U.N.-prohibited ship-to-ship transfers of petroleum products in separate meetings with French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian and Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland, the official told reporters.


In a meeting with British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, Kono requested that Britain avoid a disorderly “no-deal” exit from the European Union.


Kono sought Britain’s orderly withdrawal from the 28-nation bloc so as to “minimize the impact to Japanese companies and the world economy,” according to the official.


Hunt was quoted by the official as saying the British government is making efforts to resolve the impasse over Parliament’s repeated rejection of Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit deal.


Kono and Hunt also agreed to reschedule a two-plus-two meeting of the Japanese and British defense and foreign ministers as early as possible, an event the two governments had planned to hold Monday in Tokyo.


In a separate meeting, Kono and Federica Mogherini, EU high representative for foreign affairs, affirmed close cooperation for the success of a Group of 20 summit Japan will host on June 28 and 29 in Osaka.


Kono and Mogherini also discussed the situation surrounding Iran.


Kono met with his European and Canadian counterparts on the fringes of a foreign ministerial gathering of the Group of Seven nations in Dinard.

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