G-8 condemns N. Korea for raising tensions

Foreign ministers from the G-8 countries condemned North Korea in the "strongest possible terms" Thursday for its nuclear and ballistic missile programs. In a joint communique issued after a two-day meeting in London, they maintained Pyongyang's recent actions undermine international peace and security.

"G-8 foreign ministers condemned in the strongest possible terms the continued development of its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea," read the communique.

The G-8 is composed of the U.S., Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Canada and Russia. Britain holds the rotating presidency of the group this year. North Korea is seen as gearing up for another ballistic missile launch. Earlier Thursday in Korea, a North Korean government agency claimed the communist nation has "powerful striking means" on standby for a launch.

The G-8 ministers urged the North to stop threats and refrain from further provocative acts. "They condemned DPRK's current aggressive rhetoric and confirmed that this will only serve to further isolate the DPRK," according to the document. DPRK is the acronym for North Korea's official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

"Ministers confirmed their commitment to the goal of lasting peace and the verifiable denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula in a peaceful manner," it added. They also expressed support for the implementation of the latest U.N. Security Council resolution on North Korea, calling for additional sanctions.

The ministers noted the council's commitment in the resolution to take further significant measures in the event of a further launch or nuclear test by the North. The U.S. and its allies are apparently trying to persuade China and Russia to help coax the North into changing its course.

"There is no disagreement with the United States over North Korea," Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said as he met Wednesday with his American counterpart, John Kerry, on the sidelines of the G-8 session.

In a speech in Beijing on Sunday, Chinese President Xi Jinping also said no nation "should be allowed to throw a region and even the whole world into chaos for selfish gains." His comments were understood to be an indirect criticism of Pyongyang's behavior.

Philippines News agency