At a semi-annual arms control meeting in Tokyo, Japanese and US officials reiterated the need for tighter expert-level cooperation to ensure Pyongyang drops its nuclear ambitions, as well as focusing on Tehran's nuclear programme, said a Japanese diplomat who attended the session.
US Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security John Bolton, who headed the US delegation, told the half-day meeting that North Korea would only benefit by disarming itself, according to the Japanese diplomat.
Bolton cited the example of Libya, which agreed in December to dismantle the country's nuclear, chemical and biological warfare programs and renounce the pursuit of such weapons.
In return, Washington lifted most sanctions against Tripoli in April.
"I think the point of the Libyan model is that Colonel Moamer Kadhafi, who is the central decision maker in Libya as Kim Jong-Il is the central decision maker in North Korea, took a very calculated look at the status of Libya in the world," Bolton said, repeating his point at a press conference.
"He made a cost-benefit analysis that came to the conclusion that Libya would be much safer renouncing the pursuit of weapons of mass destruction. In fact, that was an accurate decision on his part.
"I think the Libyan example demonstrates we can move very quickly" to dismantle weapons of mass destruction and to deliver economic incentives elsewhere, Bolton said.
"That could be a way ahead both for North Korea and for Iran," he said.
The top US arms control official made a similar comment in a brief meeting earlier with Japanese Foreign Minister Yoriko Kawaguchi, telling her that "the international community must continue to call on North Korea" to disarm, according to the Japanese foreign ministry.
Bolton, considered one of Washington's most hawkish critics of Pyongyang, said the United States believed there "isn't any peaceful aspect to North Korea's nuclear program."
"I think the ball is in North Korea's court," Bolton said, urging Pyongyang to make a "substantive response" in the next, September round of the six-nation talks, which would bring together the two Koreas, China, the United States, Japan, and Russia, to discuss ways to solve Pyongyang's nuclear crisis.
During the Tokyo weapons control meeting Bolton said that Iran must cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which has conducted more than a year of inspections related to suspicions it is seeking to develop a nuclear bomb under cover of its efforts to generate nuclear power.
Iran has been the subject of a string of IAEA resolutions criticising its level of cooperation with the IAEA.
In the meeting, Japan reiterated at the meeting that Washington should ratify the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty and expressed its concerns over US research on so-called mini-nuke small nuclear weapons, the Japanese diplomat said.