Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe praised President Donald Trump for his successful meeting with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un on Tuesday, describing it as the first step in achieving a “comprehensive resolution.”
Following their meeting in Singapore, the two leaders signed a declaration agreeing to “establish new U.S. – DPRK relations in accordance with the desire of the population of the peoples of the two countries for peace and prosperity.”
The declaration added that the two countries “will join their efforts to build a lasting and stable peace regime on the Korean Peninsula” and an assurance that the “DPRK commits to work toward complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.”
“We see this as a step in a comprehensive resolution,” Abe told media in Tokyo after speaking with Trump. “I highly praise and appreciate President Trump for mentioning the issue of abduction (of Japanese by North Korea) to Kim, which is an important issue for Japan. I’m determined that Japan will have to directly face North Korea and resolve (the abduction issue) bilaterally.”
Japan has remained a steadfast ally of the United States and South Korea dating back to the 1950s against the North Korean regime and recently placed a number of sanctions on North Korean entities in an attempt to exert pressure on the regime.
In April, Kim Jong-un made a symbolic gesture against the “wicked Japanese imperialists” by changing North Korea’s time zone to align with South Korea.
Japan has also repeatedly been subject to the North’s nuclear tests over their territory. State media have previously declared that Japan would be swiftly covered by “nuclear clouds” and “engulfed in flames” should a war breaks out.
Yet Japanese officials now remain hopeful that amid a thawing of relations with the West, the regime will return the dozens of Japanese citizens abducted by North Korea in the 1970s, many of whom were used to train spies who would pretend to be Japanese. Authorities fear there is little time left, given the aging of the remaining victims.
“I brought it up, absolutely, and they are going to be working on that,” Trump said at a news conference following the meeting.
Other regional powers reacted positively to Trump’s meeting. South Korea described it as a “great victory achieved by both the United States and the two Koreas, and a huge step forward for people across the world.”
“[The] Agreement will be recorded as a historic event that has helped break down the last remaining Cold War legacy on earth,” the country said in a statement.
Meanwhile, China also expressed its support for the meeting while calling on its own government to be allowed a “constructive role” in the talks.
“The international community has paid attention to the North Korea-U.S. summit in Singapore. As Foreign Minister Wang Yi said, it is very important and positively meaningful that the leaders of the two countries held a dialogue on an equal footing,” said Chinese Foreign Minister Geng Shuang.
“New history has been made and China welcomes and supports it. This is also a goal that contains China’s expectations and efforts,” he continued. “We wish all related countries join the efforts, and China will play its own constructive role.”