• Kyodo

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A senior Japanese Foreign Ministry official will visit Washington from Wednesday for high-level talks with U.S. and South Korean counterparts on North Korea’s denuclearization, the ministry has said.

The trilateral talks will involve discussion on a possible response to last week’s second summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Vietnam, which ended without tangible progress toward the North’s denuclearization.

During his visit through Friday, Kenji Kanasugi, director general of the ministry’s Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau, plans to coordinate denuclearization efforts with Stephen Biegun, U.S. special representative for North Korea, and Lee Do-hoon, South Korea’s special representative for Korean Peninsula peace and security affairs, according to the ministry.

Kanasugi is expected to be briefed by Biegun on the outcome of the U.S.-North Korea summit in Hanoi, and will stress Japan’s position that sanctions must be maintained against North Korea until Pyongyang denuclearizes in a complete and verifiable way.

At the summit, the United States and North Korea remained apart over the denuclearization steps that would lead to an easing in existing economic sanctions on Pyongyang.

In addition to North Korea’s denuclearization, resolving the issue of Pyongyang’s abductions of Japanese nationals in the 1970s and 1980s is also a top priority for Tokyo.

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