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Kerry urges N. Korea to take meaningful steps towards denuclearization

US Secretary of State John Kerry
US Secretary of State John Kerry
TOKYO, April 15 (KUNA) -- Visiting US Secretary of State John Kerry said the US is ready to talk to North Korea but stressed that the North should take "meaningful steps" toward its denuclearization.
"The United States remains open to authentic and credible negotiations on denuclearization, but the burden is on Pyongyang," Kerry said in a speech at the Tokyo Institute of Technology in Tokyo, Monday.
"North Korea must take meaningful steps to show it will honor commitments it has already made," the secretary said.
Kerry is in Japan on the final leg of his three-nation Asian tour that has already taken him to South Korea and China. He reiterated that the three countries he had visited and the US are all united in seeking denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
"One thing is certain. We are united. There can be no confusion on this point. North Korea's dangerous nuclear missile program threatens not only its neighbors, but also its own people," he said.
He also said the US welcomes China's support of keeping the Korean Peninsula free of nuclear weapons. "The world does not need more potential for war. So we will stand together, and welcome China's strong statement to this commitment two days ago to the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. The world does not need more potential for war." Kerry's speech came amid speculation that Pyongyang is prepared to fire off missiles around April 15 to mark the birthday of late founding leader Kim Il-sung, the current ruler Kim Jong-un's grandfather.
On Sunday, Kerry and Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida shared the view that North Korea should immediately stop provocative behavior and take concrete action toward denuclearization. Kerry said, on Sunday, the US will protect its Asian allies - Japan and South Korea - against any provocative acts by the North, but added Washington seeks a peaceful solution.
In Tokyo, Kerry also held talks with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, in which they touched on the issue of stalled relocation of a US military base in southern Japan and other issues.
Kerry is scheduled to leave Japan later Monday.(end) mk.nfm KUNA 150959 Apr 13NNNN