September 22, 2017 4:22 am JST

Abe vents anger at North Korea in fiery UN speech

What's needed is 'not dialogue, but pressure,' prime minister says

YUKIO TAJIMA, Nikkei staff writer

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe addressed the United Nations General Assembly on Sept. 20. © Kyodo

UNITED NATIONS -- Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is deeply alarmed by North Korea's nuclear development and the world's inability to block it, making his frustration plainly clear in a U.N. speech devoted almost entirely to the topic.

Past attempts to resolve the North Korean issue through dialogue "have all come to naught," Abe said at the General Assembly on Wednesday, calling on the global community to focus on ramping up pressure.

He outlined how the international community has tried various times to defuse the situation through dialogue and economic aid since North Korea's nuclear program came to light in the 1990s. "In what hope of success are we now repeating the very same failure a third time?" he asked, in an apparent swipe at Chinese and Russian insistence on pursuing dialogue this time around as well.

Pyongyang is only using dialogue as a way to buy time, and what is needed now is "not dialogue, but pressure," the prime minister argued.

He also tore into recent actions by the North and repeatedly called leader Kim Jong Un a "dictator."

"We must make North Korea abandon all nuclear and ballistic missile programs in a complete, verifiable and irreversible manner," Abe said. Tokyo worries that Washington will agree to reopen dialogue in exchange for North Korea halting nuclear development, effectively leaving nuclear missiles capable of hitting Japan in Pyongyang's hands.

Japan can use only diplomatic pressure backed by its alliance with the U.S. to curb North Korean weapons development. "We consistently support the stance of the United States: that 'all options are on the table,'" Abe said.

U.S. President Donald Trump slammed the North as a "depraved regime" in his address the day before. Abe's speech underscored the shared commitment by Washington and Tokyo to tackling the issue.

"In order to change North Korea's policies, we must strengthen our unity," Abe said.

The U.N. Security Council just approved a fresh round of sanctions against Pyongyang on Sept. 11 in response to its sixth nuclear test.

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