Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said he and U.S. President Donald Trump agreed in telephone talks Monday that they must take fresh action to tackle the threat from North Korea following Pyongyang's second test of an intercontinental ballistic missile.
"I completely agreed with President Trump on the recognition that we must take further action," Abe told reporters after the talks.
The White House also said Trump has reaffirmed the country's "ironclad commitment" to defend Japan and South Korea from any attack, using the full range of its capabilities.
Abe and Trump agreed on the need to immediately impose measures against the North that are stronger than those previously discussed at the United Nations, according to Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Koichi Hagiuda.
"We have made repeated efforts to resolve the North Korean issue peacefully, coordinating between Japan and the United States and with the international community, but North Korea has trampled all over these efforts and unilaterally escalated (the situation)," Abe said.
"China, Russia and the rest of the international community must take seriously this undeniable fact and increase their pressure," he said.
Hagiuda told a press conference that the two leaders agreed on the importance of China and Russia in compelling North Korea to halt its nuclear and missile development, which is banned by the United Nations and has prompted a range of international sanctions.
The telephone conversation took place as Washington is considering beefing up its economic sanctions against Chinese and Russian firms believed to be involved in Pyongyang's nuclear and missile development, according to sources close to the matter.
Hagiuda said Abe and Trump discussed the latter's post on Twitter on Saturday that he is "very disappointed in China," which he said has done "NOTHING for us with North Korea, just talk," adding, "We will no longer allow this to continue."
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga hinted at a separate press conference that similar telephone talks will be held between Abe and South Korean President Moon Jae In.
Moon is expected to have telephone talks with Trump and Abe, respectively, after he comes back from summer vacation later this week, according to South Korean presidential office sources.
The ICBM launched late Friday night travelled for 47 minutes and reached an altitude of 3,724.9 kilometers, according to North Korea's official media. It later fell into the Sea of Japan inside Japan's exclusive economic zone.
The altitude and distance it covered have led defense experts to estimate that it could reach major cities on the U.S. mainland if fired on an optimal trajectory.
North Korea test-fired its first ICBM on July 4. The country has stated its ambitions of being able to deliver nuclear warheads to targets in the United States.
Abe also told reporters, "Under the strong cohesion between Japan and the United States, we will take concrete actions to enhance our defense capabilities and do all we can to ensure the public are kept safe from the threat from North Korea."
On Sunday, two Japanese F-2 fighter jets and two U.S. B-1 bombers conducted a joint drill off the Korean Peninsula. The U.S. bombers subsequently conducted exercise with the South Korean air force, according to Japanese Air Self-Defense Force officials.
According to Hagiuda, the leaders did not discuss taking military action against North Korea, or what sort of action by Pyongyang would constitute the crossing of a "red line" for the United States.