Japan is trying to arrange talks between Shinzo Abe and Donald Trump before the US-North Korea summit in Singapore

Japanese Prime Minister Abe hopes to hold talks with Trump on the fringes of the Group of Seven summit in June, and is likely to press for the release of Japanese people kidnapped by North Korea

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 12 May, 2018, 2:40am
UPDATED : Saturday, 12 May, 2018, 2:59am

The Japanese government is making arrangements for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to meet US President Donald Trump ahead of a landmark US-North Korea summit in Singapore on June 12, government sources said Friday.

As leaders from the Group of Seven industrialised nations are expected to gather in Canada on June 8 and 9, Abe hopes to hold talks with Trump on the fringes of the summit and coordinate efforts toward resolving issues related to Pyongyang, the sources said.

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Abe is expected to ask Trump to push North Korean leader Kim Jong-un to address the long-standing issue of Japanese nationals abducted by North Korean agents in the 1970s and 1980s, the sources said.

Abe has placed priority on resolving the abduction issue. 

Following the return to the United States of three US citizens detained by Pyongyang, Abe said the Trump-Kim summit will lead to progress on the Japanese abduction issue.

“It would be better [for the two leaders] to meet, and they will likely do so,” a Japanese government source said. 

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The prime minister also hopes to reaffirm the need to press Pyongyang to abandon its weapons of mass destruction, including biological and chemical weapons, and missiles of all ranges.

Asked about the possibility of a Japan-US summit, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga, the top government spokesman, told a press conference Friday that Japan aims to convey its stance and throw its support behind the United States.

Speculation has emerged that Trump may visit Japan to brief Abe about the outcome of his meeting with Kim in Singapore.

Trump said Thursday he plans to meet Kim on June 12 in Singapore in what will be the first ever summit between a sitting US president and a North Korean leader.

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Recent weeks have seen a flurry of diplomatic activity since the historic April 27 inter-Korean summit, when South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim agreed to pursue complete denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula.

Japan, China and South Korea agreed in a trilateral leaders’ summit on Wednesday in Tokyo that they will work toward the peninsula’s denuclearisation in a rare show of unity.