In an interview with FRANCE 24, Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono reacted to the proposal by his US counterpart Rex Tillerson to hold direct talks with North Korea without preconditions. Kono insisted that Pyongyang must first "abandon its nuclear weapons and missiles" before any talks. "Dialogue just for the sake of dialogue has been a failure in the past; we don’t want to repeat this mistake", he told FRANCE 24's Marc Perelman, adding that sanctions "have started to take effect".
The Japanese foreign minister also touched on ties with China, says relations between the two countries are "showing signs of improvement".
On trade, he called the decision by US President Donald Trump to withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement a "mistake” and said he hoped the US would change its mind on the issue.