Japan says time for 'effective pressure' on North Korea, not dialogue

FILE PHOTO - A North Korean flag flies on a mast at the Permanent Mission of North Korea in Geneva October 2, 2014. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse/File Photo

MANILA (Reuters) - A Japanese foreign ministry spokesman on Sunday welcomed tougher U.N. sanctions on North Korea over its missile tests and said it was time to exert more “effective pressure” on Pyongyang rather than to pursue dialogue.

“Now is not the time for dialogue but the time to increase effective pressure on North Korea so that they will take concrete actions towards de-nuclearization,” deputy foreign ministry spokesman Toshihide Ando told a news conference in Manila, ahead of a regional security meeting attended by all parties involved in the standoff.

He also said Japan was gravely concerned about China’s building of what he called “large-scale outposts” in the South China Sea.

China’s foreign minister had earlier stressed that dialogue was needed as well as sanctions on North Korea.

Reporting by Neil Jerome Morales and Manolo Serapio Jr; Writing by Martin Petty; Editing by Gareth Jones