Abe stresses concrete action in talks with S. Korean envoy

TOKYO (The Japan News/ANN) - Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and South Korean National Intelligence Service Director Suh Hoon affirmed on Tuesday their commitment to bilateral cooperation, as well as their trilateral ties with United States, in their efforts to denuclearise North Korea.

Abe held talks at the Prime Minister’s Office with Suh, who visited North Korea on March 5-6 as a member of a special delegation dispatched by the South Korean government. 
 “It’s extremely important that North Korea act on its word by taking concrete actions toward denuclearization,” Abe said at the beginning of the meeting. The prime minister also expressed his intention to find solutions, through trilateral cooperation, for the issues of Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile development and its abduction of Japanese nationals.
 Suh emphasized the importance of cooperation between the leaders of Japan and South Korea. “It is quite significant that Kim Jong Un, chairman of the Workers’ Party of Korea, clarified his intention for denuclearization with his own words,” Suh said.
 Suh has met Kim and U.S. President Donald Trump, and conveyed the details of his meetings with those leaders to Abe.
 After the meeting, Suh told reporters: “The talks were excellent and meaningful. The prime minister said, ‘Japan will cooperate and work together for both inter-Korean and U.S.-North Korea summit meetings, so as to achieve results.’”
 On Monday, Foreign Minister Taro Kono met with Suh at the Foreign Ministry’s Iikura Guest House in Tokyo. Kono and Suh agreed to maintain bilateral as well as trilateral cooperation involving the United States to ensure North Korea takes concrete actions for denuclearization through inter-Korean and U.S.-North Korea summit meetings — scheduled to be held at the end of April and by the end of May respectively.
 “We had a detailed discussion about how to deal with the [North Korean] issue,” Kono told reporters after the meeting. “We agreed to maintain maximum pressure [on North Korea] to avoid repeating past mistakes.”
 Regarding whether there was a message from Kim to Japan, Kono only said, “I am reluctant to say anything more than has been announced.” 
 During the meeting, Kono asked Suh to explain in detail about Kim Jong Un’s remarks regarding his willingness to denuclearize.
 They also confirmed their cooperation over the issue of Japanese nationals abducted by North Korea, which has been the top priority for the Abe Cabinet. Kono told Suh that Japan is ready to provide funds for inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency.
 According to South Korea’s explanation, Suh told Kono during the meeting, “The abduction issue was not discussed [at the meeting with Kim Jong Un].”