• Kyodo

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Japan intends to hold a foreign ministerial meeting with North Korea in Singapore in early August if progress is made on Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons and missile programs at an expected U.S.-North Korea summit, government sources said Tuesday.

Tokyo has conveyed its intention to arrange talks between Foreign Minister Taro Kono and his North Korean counterpart, Ri Yong Ho, on the sidelines of an international security conference, they said.

Japan hopes to pave the way for a summit with North Korea and advance long-stalled negotiations over the issue of Japanese nationals abducted by Pyongyang decades ago, according to the sources.

The countries last held a foreign ministerial meeting in Malaysia in August 2015, during which no progress was made on pending issues.

The United States and North Korea are currently arranging a summit between their leaders in Singapore on June 12. The envisioned meeting between Japan and North Korea would likely take place between Aug. 1 and 4 when the two ministers are expected to be in Singapore for the ASEAN Regional Forum, the sources said.

Japan will not go ahead with the meeting if the planned summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is called off or fails.

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