National / Politics

Abe and Mike Pence may meet next week to discuss North Korea: Japanese government sources

Kyodo, Reuters

Japan and the United States are planning a meeting between Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Vice President Mike Pence in Tokyo on Nov. 13 to discuss cooperation toward North Korea’s denuclearization, Japanese government sources said Tuesday.

During the planned luncheon meeting, Abe is expected to seek Washington’s cooperation in resolving the issue of North Korea’s past abductions of Japanese nationals and brief Pence on his recent visit to China, amid signs of improving relations between the two Asian countries despite the growing U.S.-China trade dispute, one of the sources said.

Though officials said last month that trade would also be under discussion when Pence visited, this is now seen as unlikely since bilateral trade talks have been pushed back to after the beginning of next year.

Pence is expected to visit Japan prior to attending annual meetings of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in Singapore and a summit of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in Papua New Guinea, in place of President Donald Trump.

In Tokyo, Pence will also likely meet with Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Taro Aso to discuss preparations for U.S.-Japan trade talks that could start as early as January.