National / Politics

Japan looks to convene summit on North Korea denuclearization in September on sidelines of U.N. gathering

Kyodo

The Japanese government is arranging to convene a summit to discuss how to share funding and cooperate toward North Korea’s complete denuclearization, on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly gathering in late September, government sources said Tuesday.

Although Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has expressed readiness to support initial costs related to the International Atomic Energy Agency inspections, Japan is also planning to provide additional funds needed to neutralize Pyongyang’s nuclear facilities and transport its nuclear materials, according to the sources.

Abe also aims to propose a new international body to manage the funds provided by each country in collaboration with the United States and South Korea, the sources added.

The plans apparently reflect Tokyo’s eagerness to take the lead in the denuclearization process of the Korean Peninsula after the North’s leader, Kim Jong Un, vowed to do so in his historic summit with U.S. President Donald Trump last week in Singapore.

The annual U.N. gathering may be an opportunity for Abe and Kim to hold bilateral talks if the latter is invited to deliver a speech there. Abe is keen to resolve the issue of Japanese citizens abducted by the North in the 1970s and 1980s, which his administration has viewed as its top priority.

In the run-up to the planned summit on North Korea’s denuclearization in September in New York, Japan is also seeking support from China, Russia and the European Union, in addition to the United States and South Korea.

In a television program aired Saturday, Abe made public the consortium plan to make sure the collected funds do not directly flow into the North under the name of denuclearization.

Tokyo aims to nail down its financial burden by calculating how much it will cost to realize a nuclear-free North Korea after Pyongyang presents its denuclearization project, the sources said.

Abe has said the envisioned costs are different from possible economic cooperation to North Korea, which it will consider providing only after normalizing diplomatic ties and comprehensively resolving the issue of nuclear and missile programs as well as the past abductions.