• Kyodo


Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on late Saturday explained the outcome of his talks with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani to U.S. President Donald Trump by phone, a Japanese government source said.

Abe told Trump that Japan will continue diplomatic efforts to ease tensions in the Middle East by working closely with the United States, according to the source.

Shortly before midnight, Abe told reporters that he discussed the latest situation regarding North Korea with the U.S. leader and what would be their coordinated response to its ramped up provocations ahead of a year-end deadline on making progress in the denuclearization talks.

Abe said Japan wants to urge North Korea to “work for denuclearization through peaceful dialogue.”

Following the phone conversation, which Abe said took place at the request of Trump, the prime minister also touched on what he expects from his the three-day visit to China from Monday and said he wants to confirm cooperation for “regional peace and stability” in meetings with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and South Korean President Moon Jae-in.

The conversation, which lasted about 75 minutes, came a day after Abe held talks with Rouhani in Tokyo.

Abe did not refer to Iran when he met with the press at his office. But earlier this month, diplomatic sources said the United States had shown approval for Japan’s plan over Rouhani’s two-day visit on condition that Tokyo shared the outcome of the talks with Washington.

Rouhani visited Japan as the first Iranian leader to do so since Mohammad Khatami in October 2000. It came amid heightened tensions between Tehran and Washington over a 2015 nuclear deal.

During the talks on Friday, Abe told Rouhani that Iran should fully abide by the landmark deal reached between it and world powers and refrain from taking actions that would undermine the accord, according to a Japanese official.

In response to the Trump administration’s withdrawal last year from the deal and the re-imposition of sanctions on Iran, Tehran has backed away from its commitments, such as exceeding the uranium enrichment levels set in the accord.

Abe visited Iran in June, becoming the first Japanese prime minister to do so since 1978 in the hope he could broker dialogue between Tehran and Washington.

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