OTTAWA, April 23. /TASS/. Foreign ministers of the Group of Seven (G7) pledged to maintain high pressure on North Korea until Pyeongyang scraps its nuclear weapons program, Japan’s daily The Mainichi reported citing Foreign Minister Taro Kono as saying.
"We fully agreed that we will never accept a nuclear-armed North Korea," Kono told journalists after talks with top diplomats of the G7 (Great Britain, Germany, Italy, Canada, the United States, France and Japan) in Canada’s Toronto.
North Korea’s KCNA news agency reported on Saturday citing leader Kim Jong-un that Pyongyang halted nuclear tests and joined the global nuclear disarmament process in line with its new strategy to build socialist economy.
"We shared the view that (Pyeongyang) made no reference to the abandonment of (the North's) nuclear program," Kono said adding "Compared to North Korea's behavior thus far, it marks one step forward."
"We welcome it as a positive step," the Japanese foreign minister stated.
North Korea stated its withdrawal from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) in 1993 and completed the withdrawal in January 2003. To date, the Communist state has held six nuclear tests. Last September, Pyongyang announced a successful test of a hydrogen bomb and proclaimed itself a nuclear power.
The US White House announced in early March that President Donald Trump had been for some time preparing for a meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un gathering information from his counsellors and intelligence services.
In early February, North Korea rolled out its new Hwasong-15 intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) at a Pyongyang military parade. The North Korean military demonstrated at least four launchers with Hwasong-15 ICBMs painted in their typical black hue and also several prime movers with Hwasong-14 intercontinental ballistic missiles.