Tokyo hails summit agreement by Koreas

Japan on Monday welcomed announcements by North and South Korea of their plans to hold a summit in Pyongyang in June, praising the news as “the two governments’ expression of enthusiasm for North-South dialogue.”

“Japan has repeatedly clarified its stance that North-South dialogue is an indispensable factor in achieving peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula,” Foreign Minister Yohei Kono said in a statement. “If the meeting is realized, it would become an unprecedented, significant event.”

Chief Cabinet Secretary Mikio Aoki also lauded the proposed meeting, telling a regular morning news conference: “I believe the meeting was planned as a result of the two governments’ eagerness to help promote bilateral dialogue, and Japan welcomes this.

“We expect the talks between the two countries to have a positive effect” on relations between Japan and North Korea in the future, Aoki said.

Kono added that Tokyo fully supports South Korean President Kim Dae Jung’s policies to engage Pyongyang in dialogue with the international community, saying Monday’s announcement is in line with Kim’s efforts to this end.

Japan strongly hopes that the planned North-South summit will add momentum to their dialogue and help reduce tension on the Korean Peninsula, Kono said in the statement.