VIAREGGIO, Italy (Kyodo) -- Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida and U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson agreed Monday to urge China to "play a bigger role" in halting North Korea's nuclear and missile development programs as they met to discuss pressing global issues.
In the talks, Kishida said he conveyed Japan's support for the United States' resolve to fulfill its responsibility to prevent the use and spread of chemical weapons, after Washington launched military strikes against Syria in response to the country's alleged use of such weapons.
The two met in Viareggio on the sidelines of the two-day Group of Seven foreign ministers' meeting from Monday in Lucca, also in central Italy. Their meeting came after telephone talks between Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and U.S. President Donald Trump on Sunday.
The leaders, speaking shortly after a summit between Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping in Florida, agreed on the importance of close coordination over North Korea and the role of China, Pyongyang's main economic and diplomatic benefactor.
Kishida said Tillerson thanked Japan for expressing clear support for the U.S. military action, which Tillerson said was aimed at preventing repeated use of chemical weapons and saving people's lives.
They shared the view that efforts to realize a cease-fire and make progress on the political process in Syria, with the involvement of Russia, as well as the fight against Islamic State militants are important, said a Japanese official who was at the talks.
Kishida added that improving the humanitarian situation in the Middle Eastern country, such as providing support for refugees, is also crucial, the official said.
Japan hopes the United States' strong response on Syria will put pressure on North Korea, which is showing signs of preparing for its sixth nuclear test and more test-firings of ballistic missiles.
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