SEOUL, March 8 (UPI) — Tokyo responded with caution and guarded optimism on North Korea’s offer to hold denuclearization talks with the U.S., saying it will continue to impose maximum pressure on the reclusive regime.
After a phone call with U.S. President Donald Trump, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Friday morning acknowledged Pyongyang’s outreach to Washington, deeming it “an achievement of the international community’s continued heavy pressure [on the North].”
South Korea, U.S. and Japan have endorsed the maximum pressure campaign on the North which seeks to isolate the regime from the international community economically and diplomatically to curb its nuclear and missile development.
Abe said while he appreciated the North’s move toward talks, the allies’ hardline policy on Pyongyang would continue for the time being, Maeil Business Daily reported.
“There is no change in the position of the United States and Japan that maximum pressure will continue until North Korea takes specific action to give up its nuke and missile program irreversibly and in a completely verifiable manner,” he said.
The Japanese leader added that he agreed with the U.S. President that the bilateral alliance would continue “100 percent,” and that he’d visit Washington in April for a summit.
“Japan will work closely with President Trump to resolve North Korea’s nuclear and missile issue as well as North Korea’s kidnapping of Japanese nationals,” Abe said, Yonhap reported.