Anchor: The North Korean nuclear issue is topping the agenda at the UN General Assembly in New York. In a keynote speech, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said the North's nuclear threat has reached a new dimension and called for appropriate sanctions. On the sidelines of the annual world gathering of leaders, ministers from some 40 countries adopted a joint statement urging North Korea to abandon its nuclear program.
Our Kim In-kyung has more.
Report: Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe devoted more than half of his keynote speech at the UN General Assembly to issues related to North Korea.
In his address Wednesday, Abe said responses to the North should change as its nuclear threat is real and has reached a new dimension.
[Sound bite: Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (Japanese)]
“There is no alternative but to say that the threat has now reached a dimension altogether different from what has transpired until now.”
“We must therefore respond to this in a manner entirely distinct from our responses thus far.”
He said the world is paying attention to see if the UN Security Council(UNSC) may unilaterally eliminate the North's nuclear ambitions, adding that Japan will lead discussions on the subject at the UNSC.
But Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, during his 19-minute speech, spoke about North Korea for less than 20 seconds.
[Sound bite: Chinese Premier Li Keqiang (Chinese)]
"On the Korean nuclear issue, we should remain committed to denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, uphold peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula and seek consultation and dialogue-based solution..."
Although Li told U.S. President Barack Obama on Monday that China supports the UNSC's sanctions against the North, he avoided mentioning the subject during his speech.
Meanwhile, ministers from some 40 countries gathered on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly on Wednesday to demand that the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty go into effect.
In a joint statement, they said the North is the only country that is conducting nuclear tests in the 21st century and that they condemn it in the strongest terms.
South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se said at the gathering that the North's nuclear program is the most serious and urgent security threat of this era.
[Sound bite: South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se (English)]
"Unless we put a brake on Pyongyang nuclear ambition today, we will come to regret it tomorrow. This is our last chance."
In the meeting attended by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, the foreign ministers of around ten countries, including the U.S., Japan, Germany, Canada and the Netherlands, criticized the North’s repeated provocations through separate speeches.
Kim In-kyung, KBS World Radio News.