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Praising US President Donald Trump's tough stance against the Kim Jong Un regime, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has said the threat coming from North Korea's missile and nuclear programme is entering a new stage.
According to Abe, for the past some years, during the time of the Obama administration, the international community had increased the pressure. But North Korea never stopped its ambition of nuclear development.
"From the beginning of the Kim Jong Un regime, since last one year alone, they have launched more than 20 ballistic missiles which is more than the total number of ballistic missiles launched during the Kim Jong il regime," Abe told CNBC in an interview.
"It is indeed very clear that the threat coming from North Korea's missile and nuclear programme is now entering into a new stage. That is my recognition," he said.
"President Donald Trump says all options are on the table. He is demonstrating this position both by words and by action. We regard this highly," Abe said.
"We regard this highly. So going forward, we have to continue to have close coordination and collaboration with the US and Korea and also China is very important in this domain inclusive of Russia as well, we would like to make our efforts so that we will be able to radically change the policy of the Kim Jong Un regime," Abe said.
Responding to a question, Abe said the US and its allies are trying to urge North Korea to abandon its nuclear development programme. To that end, the international community has increased its pressure on North Korea.
"We would like to resort to diplomatic and peaceful means in resolving this situation and I think on this point, the US and Japan share the same views. However, we are not pursuing dialogue for the sake of dialogue. We must firmly and solidly stand upon the principle of action, for action that is the principle with which we would like to approach the situation," he said.
According to North Korean state media, as long as the US continues its current policy, Kim Jong Un has ordered increases in the production of nuclear weapons and other offensive means, Abe said.
"We may see more displays of provocation from North Korea," he said, adding that it is important to have continued close coordination with the US, Korea, China and Russia to discourage provocations from North Korea.
"Should North Korea conduct additional nuclear tests, then Japan would seek additional sanctions through fresh UN Security Council resolutions," he said.
It is too premature, he said, to have any US-North Korea talks. Discussing the six-party talks between China, Japan, North Korea, Russia, South Korea, and the US, he said Japan is not interested in dialogue for the sake of dialogue.
"The six-party talks should not be used as a tool for North Korea to buy time to develop their nuclear capability or to gain more attention," Abe said.
"I do not think that it is the proper timing to go to the six-party talks so I may repeat what I have already said, we have to exert proper pressure by the international community to North Korea to create a situation in order to entice North Korea to change their position and come up with a very sincere attitude towards the current situation," he said.