No signs have emerged that Japan can resolve the long-standing issue of North Korea's abductions of Japanese nationals, although Saturday marked the 20th anniversary of the signing of a landmark agreement between the two Asian countries.

For the past two decades, North Korea has accelerated nuclear and ballistic missile development, while boosting relations with its powerful neighbors China and Russia, which have apparently supplied Pyongyang with military technologies and resources.

The United States and South Korea remain technically in a state of war with the North given that the 1950-1953 Korean War ended in an armistice, not a peace treaty, but they held bilateral summits with Pyongyang for two years through early 2019, respectively.