Japan calls for UN talk on funding North Korean denuclearisation

Japan PM Shinzo Abe seeks to firm up commitments and details about paying to neutralise Pyongyang’s nuclear programme

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 20 June, 2018, 2:42am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 20 June, 2018, 3:25am

The Japanese government is arranging a meeting, to be held during the United Nations General Assembly gathering in September in New York, to discuss how to share the financing of North Korea’s complete denuclearisation, government sources said on Tuesday.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has expressed readiness to support initial costs related to the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency inspections, but Japan is also planning to provide other funds needed to neutralise Pyongyang’s nuclear facilities and transport its nuclear materials, according to the sources.

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Abe also intends to propose a new international body to manage the funds provided by each country in collaboration with the United States and South Korea, the sources added.

Japan is seeking support from China, Russia and the European Union in addition to the United States and South Korea.

The plans apparently reflect Tokyo’s eagerness to take the lead in the denuclearisation process of the Korean peninsula, after North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un vowed to do so in his meeting with US President Donald Trump last week in Singapore.

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The annual UN gathering may be an opportunity for Abe and Kim to hold bilateral talks if the latter is invited to deliver a speech there.

Abe is also keen to resolve the issue of Japanese citizens abducted by the North in the 1970s and 1980s, which his administration regards as a top priority.

In a television programme aired Saturday, Abe made public the consortium plan to make sure the collected funds do not directly flow to the North under the name of denuclearisation.

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Tokyo aims to nail down its financial burden by calculating how much it will cost to realise a nuclear-free North Korea after Pyongyang presents its denuclearisation plan, the sources said.

Abe has said that those envisioned costs are different from possible economic cooperation to North Korea, which Japan will consider providing only after normalising diplomatic ties and comprehensively resolving the issues of nuclear and missile programmes and of the abductions.