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Japan, South Korea agree to maintain 'maximum pressure' on North Korea - minister

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TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan and South Korea agreed on Monday that maximum pressure must be maintained on North Korea until it takes concrete action towards addressing concerns about its nuclear weapon and missile programmes, Japan’s foreign minister said.

“Japan and South Korea agreed we will continue to apply maximum pressure on North Korea until it results in concrete action,” the minister, Taro Kono, told reporters, after talks with South Korean National Intelligence Service chief Suh Hoon.

Kono declined to say what that concrete action should be or whether Japan had softened its position on action as a prerequisite for talks.

U.S. President Donald Trump has agreed to meet North Korean leader Kim Jong Un by the end of May. South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in also plans a summit with Kim by the end of April.

Kono also said Japan would be willing to provide money for International Atomic Energy Agency inspections if needed.

He said Japan would work closely with the United States and South Korea including on solving the issue of Japanese citizens abducted in the past by North Korea.

Reporting by Tim Kelly; Editing by Robert Birsel