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Japan seeks China's help to adopt stricter sanctions on N. Korea

Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono said Monday he called for
China's help to adopt new, stricter sanctions on North Korea at an
emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council following the North's
sixth nuclear test a day earlier.

After meeting with Liu Shaobin, a minister at the Chinese
Embassy in Tokyo, for around 15 minutes, Kono told reporters that he
explained to Beijing about the importance of putting "maximum"
pressure on Pyongyang.

"I asked China to discuss and adopt a fresh and stronger
resolution" on North Korea at the U.N. gathering scheduled to be held
in New York later in the day, Kono said. He declined to comment on
how Liu responded.

Japanese and U.S. officials want to impose restrictions on
Pyongyang's crude oil and oil product trade to curb the inflow of
funds into North Korea and prevent the country from pursuing its
missile and nuclear ambitions.

Kono voiced hope that Beijing, believed to have influence over
Pyongyang as its benefactor, will join hands with Tokyo and
Washington, saying Japan and China have agreed to work together to
achieve their common goal of denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula.

"China has stepped up its criticism" of North Korea that carried
out a nuclear test despite opposition from Beijing, Kono said.

The nuclear test was held when Chinese President Xi Jinping was
hosting a summit of emerging economies in his country -- an important
diplomatic event to cast himself as an influential global leader
ahead of next month's twice-a-decade congress of the Communist Party.

"It appears that China has been concerned about" the timing of
the test, Kono added.

China, which accounts for around 90 percent of North Korea's
total foreign trade, had stressed that a diplomatic solution is
needed to reduce tensions, but the latest nuclear test prompted it to
rap Pyongyang in stronger terms.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry said in a statement Sunday that
Beijing "expresses its firm opposition (to the test) and strongly
condemns it."

On Monday, Kono also met with Paul Madden, Britain's ambassador
to Japan.

Kono said he is eager to meet or hold telephone talks with
foreign ministers or ambassadors to Japan of the U.N. decision-making
body's five permanent members -- Britain, China, France, Russia and
the United States -- before the emergency meeting.

North Korea said through its official media Sunday that it
successfully tested an advanced hydrogen bomb and now has the ability
to adjust the power of a nuclear warhead as it chooses depending on
the attack target.

Pyongyang previously performed a nuclear test in September last
year and has continued to launch ballistic missiles, including two
intercontinental ballistic missiles into the Sea of Japan in July and
one that flew over Japan into the Pacific Ocean in August. (Sept. 4)