UNITED STATES (OBSERVATORY) – Abe and US President Donald Trump welcomed the inter-Korean summit as a positive step for nuclear disarmament and a “historic step” towards peace and stability in northeast Asia, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s office said on Sunday.
North and South Korean leaders vowed at a landmark summit on Friday to work for “full nuclear disarmament” on the Korean peninsula. But Trump said he would continue to press Pyongyang through sanctions before his unprecedented meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
Abe and Trump spoke in a 30-minute telephone conversation on Saturday in which they agreed on the importance of Pyongyang taking concrete steps towards denuclearization, Japan’s Prime Minister’s Office said in a statement.
“The most important thing is whether North Korea will take specific actions in the future,” Abe’s office quoted him as telling reporters late on Saturday.
Trump and his South Korean counterpart Mon Jijn also agreed on the need to hold an early summit between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, which Trump said would take place in the next three to four weeks.
On the other hand, Abe told reporters after a telephone conversation on Sunday with Moon that the South Korean president made during his meeting with Kim the issue of North Korean abduction of Japanese citizens in the past. This is one of the most difficult issues in the relations between the two countries.
North Korea admitted in 2002 that 13 Japanese were kidnapped in the 1970s and 1980s to train them as spies. Five of them returned to Japan, but Tokyo suspects hundreds more may have been kidnapped.
Abe made the kidnapping a key part of his political career and vowed to work until all the Japanese who North Korea had admitted to kidnapping had returned.