Merkel, Abe agree sanctions against North Korea should be stepped up

FILE PHOTO: German Chancellor Angela Merkel welcomes Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to the opening day of the G20 leaders summit in Hamburg, Germany, July 7, 2017. REUTERS/Ludovic Marin/Pool

BERLIN (Reuters) - German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Japanese Prime Minister spoke by telephone on Tuesday and agreed that sanctions against Pyongyang should be stepped up in response to North Korea’s nuclear test, a spokesman for the German government said.

“She agreed with Prime Minister Abe that North Korea’s latest nuclear test threatened the security of the entire world and that this massive violation of the U.N. Security Council’s resolution must result in a resolute reaction from the international community as well as tougher sanctions,” spokesman Steffen Seibert said.

Merkel and Abe agreed that increased pressure on North Korea should make Pyongyang more willing to agree to a peaceful solution and that China and Russia had a key role to play in that, Seibert added.

Reporting by Michelle Martin; Editing by Michael Nienaber