October 13, 2017 1:49 pm JST

G-7 vows to apply 'maximum economic pressure' on North Korea

WASHINGTON (Kyodo) -- Group of Seven finance chiefs on Thursday pledged to apply "maximum economic pressure" on North Korea over the "grave" threat posed by its missile and nuclear weapons development, a senior Japanese official said.

The G-7 finance ministers and central bank governors affirmed close coordination in blocking North Korea's attempts to evade U.N. sanctions, Masatsugu Asakawa, vice finance minister for international affairs, told reporters after a meeting in Washington.

"We shared the recognition that we need to apply maximum economic pressure on North Korea by blocking sources of North Korea's income and preventing the country from abusing the international financial system," Asakawa said.

Measures include blocking financial trade that would promote North Korea's attempts to evade U.N. sanctions, the official said.

"North Korea's development of weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missiles pose a grave threat to international peace and security," Asakawa said.

He said it is rare that the G-7 finance chiefs make public the fact that they met on the sidelines of a meeting of the broader Group of 20 major developed and emerging economies, in what he said was the G-7's resolve to step up pressure on North Korea to rein in its provocative behavior.

The meeting was held under the leadership of Italy, which holds this year's presidency of the G-7, which groups Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States, according to Asakawa.

The G-7 and G-20 financial leaders are in Washington for annual meetings of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

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