Former Japanese leader wishes for success of N.K.-U.S. summit

TOKYO, Former Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda said Thursday that he wishes for a "great success" from the North Korea-United States summit slated for June 12 in Singapore.

Fukuda also said peace is the biggest goal for Northeast Asia during his address at a forum jointly organized in Tokyo by South Korea's Ministry of Unification and the Institute for Far Eastern Studies of Kyungnam University.

"Japan fully understands that the issue of Japanese abductees in North Korea cannot be resolved unless peace and stability come to the (Northeast Asian) region," he said. He forecast that five- or six-party talks could follow the planned meeting of the North Korean and U.S. leaders.

"When former prime minister Junichiro Koizumi visited North Korea for a summit 15 years ago, I was chief cabinet minister. I think peace is the biggest goal in the future," he said.

Addressing the forum, South Korean Ambassador to Japan Lee Su-hoon urged Japan to play a more active role in promoting peace and prosperity in the region.

"The North Korea-U.S. summit is not only a stage to discuss denuclearization, but also a historic meeting to achieve peace in the world as well as on the Korean Peninsula and in Northeast Asia. Thus it should never fail. It must be successful," said Lee.

Noting that the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula should proceed simultaneously with the normalization of inter-Korean, North-U.S. and North-Japan relations, Lee said, "Japan should no longer hesitate to play a more active role in the process of peace and prosperity."

Park Jae-kyu, president of Kyungnam University, stressed that cooperation between South Korea, Japan and other neighboring countries is critical to helping North Korea change in a desirable way and become a normal state.

Akira Haseyama, president of Keio University, which hosted the forum, said he was stunned by the "breathtaking" changes surrounding the Korean Peninsula over the past week and that such circumstances may offer opportunities for South Korea and Japan to cooperate more closely.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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