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US, Japan Agree to Swiftly Implement Sanctions Against Pyongyang


The top U.S. envoy on North Korea's nuclear program and his Japanese counterpart are pledging to act swiftly together to implement the U.N. Security Council resolution punishing the communist state for its claimed nuclear test a week ago.

Kenichiro Sasae and Christopher Hill, the top envoys from Japan and the United States to multi-nation talks on North Korea's nuclear program met Monday. They agreed to cooperate on implementing the U.N. Security Council resolution that calls for tough sanctions against Pyongyang for its claimed atomic test last Monday.

Sasae says Japan and the United States have also agreed to cooperate with the other countries involved in the six-nation talks - South Korea, Russia and China.

Sasae adds that he still hopes their work can lead to a resumption of the talks, which are aimed at ending North Korea's nuclear program.

Those discussions have been dormant for a year and hopes for their resumption faded following the claimed nuclear explosion in North Korea.

Hill says his meetings in Japan are intended to send a message to Pyongyang that the communist regime must change paths.

"We want this Security Council resolution to be effective in bringing North Korea around to implementing its obligations under the joint statement," he said.

The statement was agreed at the last round of six-party negotiations in September 2005. Under it, North Korea agreed to abandon its nuclear program in exchange for economic incentives and security guarantees.

Hill is to leave for South Korea on Tuesday for meetings with his counterpart there. Both Tokyo and Seoul will be the scenes of related diplomacy during the next several days.

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is expected to hold talks here from Wednesday. The following day in Seoul, Rice, and the Japanese and South Korean foreign ministers are to hold talks.

Japan has also implemented unilateral sanctions against North Korea, in response to its claimed nuclear test, including a ban on imports from the impoverished communist state.