National / Politics

Abe repeats desire to hold summit with North Korea on abduction issue

JIJI

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has reiterated his desire to hold a bilateral summit with North Korea to resolve the abduction issue.

“I’m determined to resolve the abduction issue through direct talks between our country and North Korea,” he said at a news conference Saturday to wrap up his visits to the United States and Canada. “I strongly hope that major results will be achieved” at a historic meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Tuesday in Singapore, Abe added.

Referring to his meeting with Trump in Washington last Thursday, Abe said, “President Trump promised me that he will cooperate to resolve the abduction issue and take up the matter at his summit with Kim.

“It is important that any summit between Japan and North Korea will lead to a solution to Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile development programs, and above all the issue of the abductions, which is of great significance to our country,” Abe stressed. “I think it would be good if a Japan-North Korea summit is held in a way to help resolve these issues.”

The issue involves Japanese who were whisked away to the reclusive state decades ago by North Korean spies.

If the nuclear, missile and abduction issues are resolved, Japan would be ready to settle the unfortunate past, normalize its relations with North Korea and provide it with economic assistance, based on the 2002 Pyongyang Declaration adopted by the two countries, Abe said.

North Korean issues were also discussed at the two-day summit of the Group of Seven major industrial nations in Charlevoix, eastern Canada, through Saturday, and the leaders of Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States plus the European Union reconfirmed that the international society should unite in fully implementing U.N. Security Council sanctions resolutions against Pyongyang, according to Abe.

At the G7 summit, the United States and other members crossed swords over trade issues at a time when the Trump administration is leaning toward protectionist moves.

Over the United States’ recently introduced additional steel and aluminum import tariffs targeting Japan and other countries, Abe suggested that Tokyo hopes to find a common ground with Washington through a new bilateral trade dialogue framework, which will be co-led by economic and fiscal policy minister Toshimitsu Motegi and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer.

“We want to hold constructive discussions with the United States so that mutually beneficial results will be produced,” Abe said. No country can benefit from exchanges of trade restriction measures, he said.

Abe showed some understanding for Trump’s proposal to allow Russia to return to the framework of the world’s major powers. “It is necessary to seek Russia’s constructive role” to help resolve challenges facing the international society, he said.