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U.S.’s Kerry lands in Japan in push to rein in North Korea

Published: Updated:

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in Japan on Sunday, the last stop on an Asian tour aimed at solidifying support for curbing North Korea’s nuclear programme and reassuring U.S. allies after weeks of threats of war from Pyongyang.

Kerry’s talks with his Japanese counterpart, Fumio Kishida, coincide with preparations for the North’s biggest holiday of the year on Monday, the Day of the Sun, the birth date of state founder Kim Il-Sung - an occasion for pomp and perhaps a military display, reported Reuters.

The North’s state media, one of the few ways of glimpsing what is happening in the reclusive country, have so far ignored Kerry’s talks in Beijing and Seoul.

But in addition to reports on the festivities, they have issued new denunciations of U.S. policy and made it plain North Korea has no intention of giving up its nuclear weapons, described as the “treasured” guarantor of the North’s security, said Reuters.

The North has threatened for weeks to attack the United States and South Korea since new U.N. sanctions were imposed in response to its latest nuclear arms test in February. Speculation has mounted of a new missile launch or nuclear test.

During Kerry’s visit to Beijing, the United States and China agreed on Saturday to work together to “peacefully denuclearize” the Korean peninsula.

Before traveling to Beijing for the first time as secretary of state, Kerry had made no secret of his desire to see China take a more active stance towards North Korea.

As the North’s main trading partner, financial backer and the closest thing it has to a diplomatic ally, China has a unique ability to use its leverage against the impoverished, isolated state, Kerry reportedly told journalists in the South Korean capital, Seoul late on Friday.