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Japan, Russia agree to implement latest UN sanctions on N. Korea

Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono (right, Mainichi) and Russian foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov (AP)

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- Foreign Minister Taro Kono and his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov agreed Friday to work together to strictly implement the latest U.N. sanctions resolution on North Korea, Japan's top diplomat said.

    Their telephone conversation came in the wake of North Korea's launch of a ballistic missile over Japan into the Pacific Ocean earlier this week.

    The U.N. Security Council's most recent resolution, adopted last month, aims to cut North Korea's $3 billion annual export revenue by a third. The resolution bans North Korean exports of coal, iron, iron ore, lead, lead ore and seafood.

    Speaking to reporters, Kono said he told Lavrov during their 25-minute phone talks that Japan will closely cooperate with Russia on the issue of North Korea, including at the United Nations.

    The Japanese government has said Russia, along with China, has an important role to play in preventing further nuclear tests or missile launches by North Korea. Russia and China have the right of veto as two of the U.N. decision-making body's five permanent members along with Britain, France and the United States.

    The Japanese and U.S. governments are looking at possibly imposing additional sanctions on North Korea such as an oil embargo. North Korea relies on oil from Russia and China, the key economic benefactor of Pyongyang.

    Meanwhile, Nikolai Patrushev, an aide to Russian President Vladimir Putin and head of Russia's security council, plans to visit Japan early next week for talks with Shotaro Yachi, head of the secretariat of Japan's National Security Council, a Japanese Foreign Ministry source said.

    Yachi and Patrushev are expected to discuss ways to deal with North Korea during their talks ahead of a summit between Putin and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

    Patrushev may also hold separate talks with Abe, who is set to meet Putin on the sidelines of a regional economic forum in Vladivostok in Russian Far East next week.

    Yachi is likely to appeal to Patrushev over the potential for the Security Council to adopt the new sanctions resolution targeting oil trade with North Korea.

    The aides are also expected to discuss the outlook for joint economic activities on a chain of islands at the heart of a bilateral territorial dispute, called the Northern Territories in Japan and the Southern Kurils in Russia.

    The activities on the islands are likely to be high on the agenda at the talks between Abe and Putin in Vladivostok.

    Like Putin, Patrushev is a former member of the Soviet-era KGB security agency. He has served as the director of its replacement, the Russian Federal Security Service.

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