Japan and South Korea continue tough and unified stance with North Korea

The top diplomats of South Korea and Japan showed North Korea a tough, unified face Saturday, saying it must prove it is serious about giving up its atomic ambitions before they will allow a new round of aid-for-nuclear disarmament talks.

South Korean Foreign Minister Kim Sung-hwan told reporters after a meeting in Seoul with his Japanese counterpart, Seiji Maehara, that the North must demonstrate its "true commitment" to abandoning a nuclear program that is believed to have produced enough weaponized plutonium for at least half a dozen bombs. The North also unveiled in November a uranium enrichment facility that could give it a second way to make atomic bombs.

South Korean President Lee Myung-bak told Maehara in a separate meeting that the issue of North’s uranium enrichment should be taken to the U.N. Security Council, presidential spokeswoman Kim Hee-jung said. Maehara agreed, she said.

North Korea, which shelled a South Korean island in November, killing four, has expressed its desire to restart the nuclear talks it quit in early 2009. The talks involve the two Koreas, Japan, the United States, China and Russia.

South Korea, the United States and Japan, frustrated over what they see as the North’s habit of breaking nuclear deals once it has received much-needed aid, want it to first show its good faith on disarmament.

"North Korea should show its true commitment toward denuclearization through specific actions," Kim said. He didn’t elaborate.

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