TOKYO – In their first 2+2 ministerial meeting since 2013, foreign and defense ministers of Russia and Japan agreed on Monday in Tokyo to jointly urge North Korea to halt its weapons tests in compliance with United Nations resolutions.
Russia’s foreign and defense ministers, Sergey Lavrov and Sergey Shoygu, respectively, met with their Japanese counterparts Fumio Kishida and Tomomi Inada to discuss regional security matters, including escalating tension in the Korean peninsula.
“Russia and Japan need to jointly tackle many common threats,” Shoygu said on Monday before meeting his Japanese counterpart, Kyodo news agency reported.
At a post-meet press conference, Kishida said Tokyo and Moscow reiterated that North Korea must accept the UN Security Council’s resolutions, which have banned its missile and nuclear development program.
On March 6, the Pyongyang regime had test-fired four medium-range missiles that fell into Japanese waters, evoking strong criticism from the international community.
Monday’s meeting in Tokyo has also helped pave the way for Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s visit to Russia in April where he will meet Russian President Vladimir Putin, Kishida said.
After the inaugural meeting in 2013, the 2+2 ministerial meetings between Tokyo and Moscow were put on hold as bilateral ties were frozen following Russia’s annexation of Crimea in March 2014.
Inada, on his part, said the 2+2 meet was resumed owing to the current security situation in the region.
Other issues discussed by the ministers at the meet included the controversial deployment of the US-built anti-missile system THAAD in South Korea, strongly opposed by Beijing and Moscow.
Japan hopes the meet will also help to address the dispute over the Kuril islands – under Russian control since Japan’s surrender in World War II in 1945.
In December, Russian President Vladimir Putin met with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to discuss the conflict, which has prevented the two nations from signing a peace treaty.