Following his meeting with President Donald Trump, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced that he will freeze the assets of 35 North Korean entities in response to the country’s escalating nuclear crisis.
“Now is not the time for dialogue,” Abe said on Monday. “It is time to apply the maximum pressure on North Korea. I completely agreed that Japan and the United States will intensify pressure to the highest level through every means in close cooperation with the international society to make Pyongyang change its policies.”
Abe made the remarks during a joint press conference with Trump, as the American president continues his tour around Asia with the North Korean crisis high on his agenda.
Trump has repeatedly called on Asia’s regional powers, particularly China, to increase pressure on the North Korean regime through economic sanctions, and has even threatened to cut off all trade with any nation dealing with North Korea:
The United States is considering, in addition to other options, stopping all trade with any country doing business with North Korea.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 3, 2017
“(We also confirmed that) it is important for China to play a bigger role,” Abe said.
Although less threatened than the United States, Japan remains an enemy of North Korea dating back to the 1950’s and their support for the South during the Korean War.
In September, North Korea launched a missile over Japan in an unprecedented act of aggression, and state media services have claimed that Japan will be swiftly covered by “nuclear clouds” and “engulfed in flames” if a war breaks out. However, Abe has signaled that he will not engage in dialogue with North Korea in order to resolve the crisis.
The United Nations Security Council also imposed its second round of sanctions against the regime in September on the country’s oil imports, textile exports, and the use of foreign laborers abroad, although Trump dismissed these sanctions as “not a big deal” and “nothing compared to what ultimately will have to happen.”
During their meeting, Trump also discussed the need for a restructuring of America’s economic relationship with Japan, an issue which he campaigned on during the 2016 election.
“We want fair and open trade. But right now, our trade with Japan is not fair and it’s not open, but I know it will be, soon,” Trump said. “Probably some of you in this room disagree, but ultimately I’ll be proven to be right. We will have much bigger trade with the way we’re doing it right now, and it will be a much less complex situation.”