Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Monday he had won the backing of US President Donald Trump for a proposed meeting with North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un.
“I feel I have to meet face-to-face with Chairman Kim without attaching any preconditions and exchange frank views with him,” Abe told a joint news conference with Trump following their summit in Tokyo.
“President Trump… said he will give full support needed for that,” the premier said.
Abe has said that a face-to-face meeting with Kim is the only way to solve the emotional issue of Japanese people who Tokyo believes were abducted by Pyongyang, but Kim has so far shown little interest in a summit.
Japan suspects dozens of people who are still missing were abducted by North Korean agents in the 1970s and 1980s to train their own spies in the Japanese language and culture.
Abe acknowledged he had “no specific plan” to meet the North Korean leader.
“But there is no change in Japan’s policy that we will seek to resolve the issue of abduction, nuclear and missiles comprehensively and to settle the unfortunate past to normalise” diplomatic ties, he added.
Following their summit, Trump and Abe met families of abductees.
“It’s very much on my mind,” Trump told them.
“I can also tell you that it is the prime minister’s primary goal,” he said, pledging to work together with Abe to bring their relatives home.
For his part, Abe said: “I am convinced that President Trump has been making every effort.”
Abe, seen as a foreign policy hawk, has recently softened his rhetoric towards Pyongyang, calling for a summit with Kim to resolve the emotional row.
Abe has repeatedly asked Trump to seek answers on the fate of the missing during his talks with North Korea.