Foreign ministers of the three Asian superpowers have met in Tokyo and condemned a submarine missile test carried out by North Korea. Pyongyang fired a missile from a submarine into the Sea of Japan a day earlier.
Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida, who led the meeting with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi and South Korea's Yun Byung-se, said the launch was a "provocation that simply cannot be tolerated."
"I hope to coordinate closely in order for Japan, China and South Korea to lead the efforts of the international community," he added.
South Korea's Yun said Pyongyang's several missile tests this year indicated "a rapid advancement of capability." He said he was concerned about the "urgent situation" with his counterparts.
"China opposes North Korea's nuclear and missile process, actions that cause tension on the Korean peninsula," Beijing's foreign minister Wang said in a joint press conference. He said the three neighbors, despite their territorial and other diplomatic disputes need to work together to deal with regional threats like North Korea.
North Korea launched a ballistic missile from its submarine, near the coastal city of Sinpo. The projectile flew about 500 kilometers towards Japan and was registered by Japan's air defense identification zone (ADIZ) for the first time. According to South Korea's Yonhap news agency, the missile was fired at a high angle and that its full range would be 1,000 km (620 miles) normally.
Beijing, Tokyo and Seoul have long been quarreling on issues and their foreign ministers meeting resumed only last year after a two-year gap because of Japan's strained relations with China. The two countries have been embroiled in a dispute regarding the East China Sea. Beijing's relations with South Korea also soured after the US announced the deployment of a missile defense system in the country to counter threats from Pyongyang.
In Wednesday's talks however, the three countries' ministers focused more on areas where they were ready to cooperate, including disaster prevention, people exchange and the environment. Japan is also expected to offer details about its 1 billion yen ($1 million) fund as compensation for South Korean women who were abused during the Second World War.
mg/rc (AP, AFP, Reuters)