Abe, Latvian PM discuss North Korea

Abe, Latvian PM discuss North Korea

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his Latvian counterpart Maris Kucinski agreed Saturday to cooperate in adding pressure on North Korea to give up its pursuit of nuclear and missile capabilities.

The 2 leaders agreed to step up pressure on North Korea and to maintain and strengthen worldwide order based on the rule of law, apparently with China's increasing maritime activities in mind.

Mr Abe will then visit fellow Baltic states Latvia and Lithuania, before continuing on to Bulgaria, Serbia and Romania.

New U.N. sanctions passed against North Korea last month ban the supply of almost 75 percent of refined oil products to Pyongyang and cap crude deliveries among other measures.Abe kicked off his visit in fellow Baltic eurozone state Estonia on January 12, where he also discussed deepening cybersecurity and economic ties.Abe is the first sitting Japanese leader to visit the Baltic states and will also visit Estonia, Bulgaria, Serbia and Romania before returning to Tokyo on January 17.

As Abe called for a tough approach to Kim Jong Un's regime, Kucinski said at a joint press conference that he "shares the same view" on the importance to press North Korea to abandon its nuclear program. He is the first sitting Japanese leader to visit these countries.

The leaders also said their countries would start working together on cyber defence, and a Japanese spokesman later said Tokyo would cooperate with North Atlantic Treaty Organisation countries, including Estonia, on cyber security.

Japan is keen to raise its profile in the region as China bolsters its ties there. He is due to return to Japan on Wednesday.

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