Tuesday, 21 November, 2017

British PM says China should increase pressure on North Korea

British Prime Minister Theresa May Britain Brexit fears Brexit Japan eye on Brexit fears Theresa May visits Japan early free-trade talks free-trade talks economy Prime Minister Shinzo Abe Prime Minister Theresa May
Debra Rodriguez | 01 September, 2017, 01:03

"So far all we have got to do is smell the eel", said one of the officials, referring to a savoury fried eel dish popular in Japan.

"In response to this illegal action, Japan and the United Kingdom agree to work together to counter this threat, and to work with others in the worldwide community to strengthen pressure against North Korea, including by increasing the pace of sanctions implementation and working towards the adoption of a new and effective resolution at the UNSC", it added.

Japanese officials have already played down the chances of Tokyo coming forward with any assurances on a trade deal with the U.K. The country is instead prioritizing full implementation of a landmark trade deal with the European Union, which it agreed in principle last month.

The UN Security Council on Tuesday unanimously condemned North Korea over the launch of the missile, which flew over Japanese territory before crashing into the Pacific.

"Whole chunks had been blacked out, but I think we all know what the government's offer had contained: a blanked out blank cheque". May would be accompanied by "a delegation of business leaders drawn from a range of sectors".

The PM is expected to reiterate the UK's commitment to a swift conclusion of the EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement during the trip.

However, Labour MP Alison McGovern accused ministers of focusing on "imaginary trade deals" rather than shoring up existing agreements as it emerged that Britain could come out of 13 bilateral agreements between Japan and the EU.

The UK-Japan post Brexit trading relationship will be a central aspect of the visit.

Japan's latest defense budget proposal also asks for money to buy a half dozen F-35 stealth fighters, a pair of frigate ships and high-tech gadgetry to protect remote southern isles in waters where China has shown its expanding naval ambitions.

He said May's hosts had grave doubts about Brexit: "The Japanese simply don't understand why we're doing this".

While Britain is engaging in the formal Brexit negotiations set to be complete by March 2019, Abe and the European Union leaders are in the final stage of negotiating a free trade agreement, which could further complicate matters for May.

May, who is in Japan on an official visit, is reportedly just the second foreign leader to attend a meeting of the National Security Council after Australia's then-prime minister Tony Abbott in 2014.

Abe has told her in the past that he attaches "extreme importance" to United Kingdom relations, reminding her of the extent of Japan's investment there.

Brendan Walsh lives on Japan's Hokkaido Island and said he was woken up yesterday morning by an emergency state text alert, advising people to take cover after North Korea launched a missile over the island.

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