Japan is looking for Pacific Islands support in one of the main international headline issues of the moment.
The issue is likely to be discussed in Iwaki City, Fukushima, Japan, in meetings during the Japan-Pacific Islands leaders summit, known as PALM8, Fiji Sun reports.
Japan wants Pacific Island countries’ support in continuing to implement the United Nations sanctions placed on North Korea, says the country’s ambassador to Fiji Masahiro Omura.
The sanctions are over North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile programme and Japan wants the pressure maintained until the North Koreans actually denuclearise the Korean Peninsula.
Japan has good reason to be wary being so close to North Korea and with North Korean missile tests nearby.
“In the context of diplomacy in this area (Pacific), we are hoping that the countries in these areas implement sanctions decided by the Security Council of the UN because to achieve peaceful resolutions of the matter, we need to put pressure on North Korea,” Omura said.
The sanctions, among others, include the ban of seafood exports and inter-trade with North Korean ships.
Japan, a key United States ally, has held a tough stance against North Korea for many years.
“Through negotiations and peaceful means, we would like to achieve solutions of this nuclear and missile and abductions issues,” Omura said.
“The sanctions need to be implemented in a unified way. If there is a loophole in this area, North Korea may get benefits from that loophole. So we would like to avoid the Pacific and South Pacific becoming a loophole for sanctions.
“To do that, we need to put pressure on North Korea and we need kind co-operation from Pacific Island countries, including Fiji, in the implementation of sanctions by UN.”