NEW YORK, Sept. 22 (UPI) — Shinzo Abe requested cooperation from Iran on North Korea, the same day the Japanese prime minister called Pyongyang’s provocations “substantially more serious” than in the past.
Abe met with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani to ask for Tehran’s help on the suspension of military cooperation with North Korea, Japanese news agency Jiji Press reported Wednesday.
Rouhani told Abe that the development of weapons of mass destruction is not conducive to stability in any region, according to the press report.
North Korean support for Iran dates back to the 1980s, when Pyongyang is believed to have provided arms support for Iran during the Iran-Iraq War, according to South Korean news service News 1.
Some experts have said the two countries have shared expertise on missile technology. Tal Inbar, of Israel’s Fisher Institute for Air and Space Strategic Studies, has said a solid-fuel rocket engine North Korea tested in March was built with technology from Iran.
In May, South Korean President Park Geun-hye had made a similar request, asking for Tehran’s cooperation on the “denuclearization of the Korean peninsula” during a state visit.
In his address to the United Nations General Assembly on Wednesday Abe had said North Korea’s missile tests and two nuclear tests in 2016 call for an “entirely distinct” response to the Kim Jong Un regime, The Guardian reported.
“The threat has now reached a dimension altogether different from what has transpired until now,” Abe said.
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang also briefly addressed the North Korea nuclear issue during his U.N. speech on Wednesday, calling for dialogue and negotiations to arrive at a solution, but left out any references to possible sanctions that could be imposed on the country.