Mongolia agrees to join talks on abductions

Kyodo

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and visiting Mongolian Prime Minister Norov Altankhuyag have agreed to hold regular talks in conjunction with the United States on resolving North Korea’s abductions of Japanese.

Mongolia has diplomatic relations with the reclusive communist state. The abductions, committed in the 1970s and ’80s, have prevented Japan and North Korea from establishing diplomatic ties.

“I hope we can further strengthen the relationship of mutual benefits,” Abe told a news conference after meeting with Altankhuyag on Friday.

“Mongolia supports Japan’s position that the abduction and other issues of concern that remain unsolved must be addressed in a comprehensive manner,” Altankhuyag said.

The leaders agreed on a five-year action plan to deepen security and economic cooperation between their nations.

They also discussed free trade talks initiated by Japan and Mongolia last year.

They agreed to “energetically proceed with and soon conclude the economic partnership negotiations to dramatically expand trade and investment between the two countries and lift our economic relations to a new stage,” according to a joint statement released with the action plan.

The trade liberalization deal would be Mongolia’s first.