Abe calls for N. Korea’s ‘concrete’ action for denuclearization

TOKYO/SEOUL, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Tuesday emphasized the need for North Korea to take "concrete" actions for denuclearization as the United States is set to hold an unprecedented summit with the North by May.

Abe also expressed hopes that the issue of North Korea's abductions of Japanese citizens could be resolved in the course of the dialogue.

Abe made the remarks during his meeting with South Korean National Intelligence Service chief Suh Hoon, who was visiting Tokyo to brief him on the outcome of his recent trips to Pyongyang and Washington.

U.S. President Donald Trump last week accepted North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's proposal for a summit. South Korea and North Korea also agreed to hold what would be their third summit in history in late April.

"It is our basic stance that the nuclear and missile problems and the kidnapping issue of Japanese people should be resolved," Abe said. "It is important to implement words through action and for the North to take concrete action."

The Japanese leader, however, noted that the North's stated willingness to denuclearize appeared genuine.

"I do not believe North Korea would use this chance simply to buy more time because it now has to face important negotiations, such as a North Korea-U.S. summit following a South-North Korea summit," Abe told Suh, according to South Korea's presidential office Cheong Wa Dae.

Abe expressed support for talks with North Korea on condition that they are aimed at making Pyongyang give up its nuclear ambitions.

He also called for continued cooperation among Japan, South Korea and the U.S. with regard to the nuclear and kidnapping issues going forward.

Delivering South Korean President Moon Jae-in's message, Suh said it is more important than ever for the three countries to step up cooperation to maintain the current peaceful momentum that has been built following the PyeongChang Winter Olympics.

He noted that it is "very significant" that Kim expressed his willingness to denuclearize.

After meeting Abe, Suh said the Japanese premier showed his respect for President Moon's leadership behind recent advances in inter-Korean relations and the overall reconciliatory atmosphere.

Abe was also quoted as saying that Japan is ready to provide all necessary support and cooperation in making the planned back-to-back summits a success.

The spy agency chief arrived in Japan on Monday and held a meeting with Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono.

His visit is part of Seoul's efforts to rally support for the recent breakthroughs in bringing the North to talks and to get other key stakeholders including China, Russia and Japan on board.

During a meeting in Beijing on Monday with a South Korean delegation led by Chung Eui-yong, President Moon's top security advisor, Chinese President Xi Jinping expressed his support for the ongoing efforts to resolve the North's nuclear stalemate and asked for increased communication between the two countries on the matter.

Chung led Moon's special envoys to the North and the U.S. He is set to visit Russia to share the outcome of the trips.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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