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SEOUL, July 7 (Yonhap) -- The leaders of South Korea, Japan and the United States on Friday reaffirmed their agreement to put maximum pressure on North Korea to bring the communist state to dialogue on ending its nuclear ambition, while urging the rest of the international community to follow suit by reducing their trade and economic relations with the impoverished North.
The call for maximum pressure on the communist state came in a joint statement issued one day after South Korean President Moon Jae-in and his U.S. counterpart Donald Trump were joined by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe for a three-way discussion that largely focused on ways to rid North Korea of its nuclear weapons.
"They affirmed the importance of working together to counter the North Korean threat and to achieve the complete, verifiable, and irreversible denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula in a peaceful manner, a shared goal among the three countries," said the statement, released by the South Korean presidential office Cheong Wa Dae.
The three-way meeting between Moon, Trump and Abe was held in Hamburg, Germany, where the leaders were taking part in the Group of 20 summit.
"They also committed to continue to cooperate to apply maximum pressure on the DPRK to change its path, refrain from provocative and threatening actions, and take steps necessary to return to serious dialogue for denuclearization," the statement said. DPRK stands for North Korea's official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.
The statement, and the leaders' meeting, came after Pyongyang test launched what it claimed to be its first intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) on Tuesday.
"The three leaders condemned the DPRK's unprecedented launch, on July 4, of a ballistic missile with intercontinental range, a major escalation that directly violates multiple UN Security Council (UNSC) resolutions and that clearly demonstrates the growing threat North Korea poses to the United States, the Republic of Korea (ROK), and Japan, as well as countries around the world," it said.
The statement said the leaders agreed to push for the early adoption of a fresh UNSC resolution with additional sanctions "to demonstrate to the DPRK that there are serious consequences for its destabilizing, provocative and escalatory actions."
The leaders renewed their call for China, the North's largest communist ally, to do more to help put North Korea on the right path.
"The three leaders also called on the nations that border the DPRK to make further efforts to convince the DPRK regime to abandon its current threatening and provocative path and immediately take steps to denuclearize and to halt its ballistic missile program," they said in their joint statement.
They also urged all others help punish the North for its latest provocation.
"They called on the international community to swiftly and fully implement all UNSC resolutions and to take measures to reduce economic relations with the DPRK," the statement said.
The leaders also agreed to further strengthen their alliance and continue increasing their defense capabilities to "deter and respond to any attack" from the communist North.
Especially, the U.S. president reaffirmed his country's commitment to defend its two Asian allies, using the full range of U.S. conventional and nuclear capabilities, according to the statement.
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