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Abe says N Korea has ‘no bright future’ if it continues on current path

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has said that he wants North Korea to understand it has “no bright future” if it continues on its current path, and that the reclusive country needs to change its policies.Mr Abe told reporters he wants to discuss the North Korea situation with Russian President Vladimir Putin and South Korean President Moon Jae-In separately when they meet this week in Vladivostok.

Mr Abe and Mr Putin are also expected to discuss economic cooperation and a peace treaty between the two nations.

Mr Abe’s comments come as Japan has again upgraded its estimated size of North Korea’s latest nuclear test to a yield of around 160 kilotons – more than ten times the size of the Hiroshima bomb.

It marks Tokyo’s second higher revision after previously giving estimates of 70 and 120 kilotons.

Defence Minister Itsunori Onodera said that his ministry’s upward revision to 160 kilotons was based on a revised magnitude by the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organisation (CTBTO).

“This is far more powerful than their nuclear tests in the past,” Mr Onodera said.

The US bomb that destroyed Hiroshima in 1945 carried a yield of 15 kilotons.

Japan’s latest estimate far exceeded the yield of between 50 and 100 kilotons indicated by UN political affairs chief Jeffrey Feltman at the UN Security Council.

Mr Onodera has held telephone talks with US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and both agreed to step up “visible pressure” on North Korea, the ministry in Tokyo said.

“North Korea’s nuclear and missile development is at a new stage of grave and imminent threats,” Mr Onodera told Secretary Mattis, the ministry said, adding that his US counterpart shared the view.

North Korea’s test on Sunday of what it described as a hydrogen bomb designed for a long-range missile triggered global alarm and has divided the international community as it scrambles for a response.

US Ambassador Nikki Haley told the UN Security Council that Washington would present a new sanctions resolution to be negotiated in the coming days, but Russian President Vladimir Putin yesterday rejected US calls for more sanctions as “useless”.

Mr Putin’s comments appeared to have widened a split among major powers over how to rein in North Korea, pitting Russia and China against the US and its allies.

Mr Abe is expected to press Mr Putin for his support over the North Korea’s provocation, when the two leaders hold talks in Vladivostok.

Posted in RTE