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Biden to discuss North Korea nuclear threat with Japan, South Korea leaders

Published 11/09/2022, 07:11 PM
Updated 11/09/2022, 09:36 PM
© Reuters. U.S. President Joe Biden discusses the 2022 U.S. midterm election results during a news conference in the State Dining Room at the White House in Washington, U.S., November 9, 2022. REUTERS/Tom Brenner

By Nandita Bose and Steve Holland

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -President Joe Biden will meet Prime Minister Fumio Kishida of Japan and South Korean President Yoon Suk-Yeol during an upcoming trip to Asia to discuss how to stem North Korea's nuclear program, a White House official said on Wednesday.

The leaders will meet in Cambodia on Sunday, Nov. 13, when Biden visits Asia for meetings with ASEAN and the Group of 20 industrialized nations.

"The three leaders would work to "continue enhancing trilateral cooperation throughout the Indo-Pacific, particularly in regard to our joint efforts to address the ongoing threat posed by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s unlawful weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile programs," Adrienne Watson, spokesperson for the White House National Security Council, said using North Korea's official name.

In October, North Korea test-fired a ballistic missile farther than ever before, sending it soaring over Japan for the first time in five years and prompting a warning for residents there to take cover.

It prompted Biden to call Kishida and reiterate America's "ironclad" commitment to the defense of Japan.

South Korean and U.S. warplanes also practiced bombing a target in the Yellow Sea in response and fighter jets from the United States and Japan carried out joint drills over the Sea of Japan.

Last week, a U.S. official told Reuters that China and Russia have leverage they can use to persuade North Korea not to resume nuclear bomb testing.

The official said while the United States had been saying since May that North Korea was preparing to resume nuclear testing for the first time since 2017, it was not clear when it might conduct such a test.

© Reuters. U.S. President Joe Biden discusses the 2022 U.S. midterm election results during a news conference in the State Dining Room at the White House in Washington, U.S., November 9, 2022. REUTERS/Tom Brenner

In May, when Biden last visited Asia, administration officials said they were in the final stages of a review of its policy towards North Korea and was keen to encourage greater trilateral cooperation with Seoul and Tokyo on that issue.

North Korea has long been banned from conducting nuclear tests and ballistic missile launches by the U.N. Security Council, which strengthened sanctions on Pyongyang over the years to try and cut off funding for those programs.

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