US, Japan, and SKorea in united stance on NKorea

WASHINGTON — In a show of unity, the U.S., Japan and South Korea on Monday said they would not resume nuclear negotiations with North Korea until it stops its “provocative and belligerent” behavior and takes concrete steps to roll back its nuclear arms program.

“They need to demonstrate a seriousness of purpose in ending their provocations and let the world know they are now ready to come to the table and fulfill the commitments they have already made,” Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton told reporters after meeting Japanese Foreign Minister Seiji Maehara and South Korean Foreign Minister Kim Sung Hwan.

Clinton’s meeting was intended to demonstrate a serious response to recent North Korean actions, including its deadly shelling of a South Korean island last month and its announced expansion of a uranium enrichment capability that the U.S. and others see as a defiant and dangerous step.

“All agree that North Korea’s provocative and belligerent behavior jeopardizes peace and stability in Asia,” Clinton said.

Conspicuous in their absence, however, were representatives of the two countries that have worked with the U.S., Japan and South Korea on the North Korean problem: China and Russia. Together with North Korea, they are members of what has become known as the six-party talks.

Asked about China’s absence, Clinton said Monday’s meeting was specifically intended to coordinate with U.S. treaty allies — Japan and South Korea — rather than convene a larger group.

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