North Korea 'provocations' make push to abolish nuclear arms harder: G7

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (4th R) prepares to lay a wreath at the cenotaph with Japan's Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida (4th L) and fellow G7 foreign ministers at Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park and Museum in Hiroshima, Japan, in this photo released by Kyodo April 11, 2016. Ministers are (R-L) E.U. High Representative for Foreign Affairs Federica Mogherini, Canada's Foreign Minister Stephane Dion, Britain's Foreign Minister Philip Hammond, Kerry, Kishida, Germany's Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Italy's Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni and France's Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault. REUTERS/Kyodo

HIROSHIMA (Reuters) - The effort to rid the world of nuclear weapons has been made more complex by North Korea’s repeated provocations and by the worsening security environment in Syria and Ukraine, the Group of Seven (G7) foreign ministers said on Monday.

Gathering in the Japanese city of Hiroshima where the United States dropped an atomic bomb on Aug. 6, 1945, the ministers also said they found it profoundly deplorable that North Korea had conducted four nuclear tests during the 21st century.

“We reaffirm our commitment to seeking a safer world for all and to creating the conditions for a world without nuclear weapons in a way that promotes international stability,” they said in a written declaration on nuclear disarmament.

“This task is made more complex by the deteriorating security environment in a number of regions, such as Syria and Ukraine, and, in particular by North Korea’s repeated provocations.”

In a separate, detailed statement on the topic, ministers from Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States singled out North Korea for sharp criticism.

“We condemn in the strongest terms the nuclear test on January 6 and the launch using ballistic missile technology on February 7, March 10 and March 18 conducted by North Korea,” the ministers said in their statement.

“It is profoundly deplorable that North Korea has conducted four nuclear tests in the 21st century.”

Reporting By Arshad Mohammed; Editing by Robert Birsel