UK, Japan to discuss security issues, N Korea nuclear threat

ANI | Updated: Dec 14, 2017 10:29 IST

Washington D.C. [U.S.], Dec 14 (ANI): British Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs Boris Johnson and Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson are likely to meet their Japanese counterparts in London on Thursday for talks, which is expected to be dominated by concern over North Korea's nuclear weapons programme.

North Korea's leader Kim Jong-un has presided over a sequence of missile tests that have alarmed Japan, South Korea and the US.

North Korea fired a missile over Japan in September, the Guardian reported.

While speaking ahead of the meeting with Japanese foreign minister Taro Kono and defence minister Itsunori Onodera, which is to be held at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich, Johnson said: "I look forward to deepening our security and defence cooperation so that we can tackle together the shared challenges ahead, including crucial international security issues such as DPRK [the Democratic People's Republic of Korea]."

The United Kingdom (UK) has so far had little involvement with North Korea, despite the fact that it did dispatch four fighter jets for joint exercises with Japan last year.

According to a report by the Guardian, Britain is planning to send a warship to the region next year, though at the time of the declaration the deployment was said to be aimed at deterring moves by Beijing in the South China Sea rather than North Korea.

"The security of the Asia-Pacific region is important to us all. I look forward to welcoming our Japanese partners to discuss tackling the threats facing them and the international community," Williamson said.

The two sides will also discuss military cooperation, including joint exercises, and collaboration on counter-terrorism and cyber threats.

US President Donald Trump has threatened unilateral action against North Korea for firing an intercontinental missile in the direction of the Sea of Japan, which is capable of reaching anywhere in the US.

US secretary of state Rex Tillerson has offered to begin direct talks with North Korea likely to give up its nuclear weapons programme.

However, Trump said the US stand on North Korea remains unchanged. (ANI)