Dec. 19 (UPI) -- The top Japanese envoy to the United Nations says "firm messages" should be sent to North Korea from the international community regarding denuclearization.
Ambassador Koro Bessho, previously Japan's ambassador to Seoul, said North Korea has not been cooperative in weapons policy and the United Nations Security Council needs to do more to convince Pyongyang steps need to be taken, NHK reported Wednesday.
North Korea did not conduct nuclear or ballistic missile tests this year, but it also did not take concrete action to disarm itself of nuclear missiles and projectiles, Bessho told reporters in New York.
The Japanese diplomat added the international community must send a "strong signal" through the Security Council regarding North Korea nuclear dismantlement.
Bessho also said serious issues face countries ahead of the 2020 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference, and that it is "premature" to grant sanctions exemptions while denuclearization talks are delayed.
The Security Council recently exempted South Korea from sanctions, allowing Seoul to export fuel and other items to the North as the two sides work to reconnect their railroads.
Japan continues to remain wary of North Korea intentions, despite improved inter-Korea relations and the absence of weapons provocations.
Defense Minister Takeshi Iwaya said Tokyo's new guidelines have identified nuclear-armed North Korea as a key threat, the Straits Times reported.
Other threats include the Russian military and Chinese activity in the East and South China seas, according to the report.