Japan Prime Minister Requests ASEAN Nations to Lift Food Import Ban

President Donald Trump at the White House on Oct. 25 2017

President Donald Trump at the White House on Oct. 25 2017

"We have said it several times already in the past that it is not to the interest of North Korea to swagger around and threaten the world, of keeping us hostage with the atomic weapons", he added.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe held a meeting with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang in Manila on Monday on the sidelines of a series of regional summits.

Japan is a key dialogue partner of the regional bloc which marks its 50th founding anniversary with celebrations coinciding with the 31st ASEAN Summit and Related Summits.

"Furthermore, we will cooperate in creating a resilient society, where all peoples of the region can exhibit in freedom their potential to the fore, enjoy peace and prosperity based on the rule of law, and be able to actually feel the quality of life without inequalities", he added. Japan also enjoys robust bilateral relations with most of the 10 ASEAN members.

At the outset of the talks, Abe said Japan will provide around 55 billion yen ($484 million) over the next three years to strengthen maritime law enforcement capabilities in ASEAN.

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According to the Japanese Foreign Ministry, the Mekong leaders voiced support for initiatives to improve connectivity in the region as part of Japan's "free and open Indo-Pacific" strategy. He has declared deep admiration for President Rodrigo Duterte, whom he visited at his Davao home when he flew in for a two-day official visit last January. Duterte said the Asean was trying to persuade Kim to stop his aggressiveness as this may bring the world to the point of no return."That is why we are persuading him, maybe pleading him to stop the aggressive posture because we are not..."

Abe committed to provide Y55 billion in the next three years for the goal of enhancing maritime law enforcement capacity.

"We need to make North Korea change their policy by enhancing the pressure applied to North Korea to the highest level by all available means, including the full implementation of the Security Council's resolutions", Abe said.

The leaders are also expected to unite in condemning North Korea's nuclear and ballistic missile tests.

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