May 9 (UPI) — Leaders of Japan, South Korea and China met in Tokyo Wednesday and agreed to the “complete denuclearization” of the Korean Peninsula — a phrase that is raising questions about whether the three sides disagreed on terminology.
The term used to describe the goal of U.S., South Korean and Japanese policy — complete, verifiable, irreversible denuclearization, or CVID — was not used in the statement that followed Wednesday’s rare trilateral meeting, South Korean news service News 1 reported.
South Korean President Moon Jae-in said the three sides agreed on the need to “establish a permanent peace” and “complete denuclearization.”
All leaders said inter-Korea relations must improve and are key to peace on the peninsula, and the region.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe took a tougher stance against North Korea’s nuclear weapons program, however, while Chinese Premier Li Keqiang likely operated from a different principle on denuclearization, according to South Korean analyst Cho Yang-hyun of the Korea National Diplomatic Academy.
Yonhap reported Abe told Moon the shutdown of North Korea’s main nuclear test center in Punggye-ri is not enough. He also asked Moon’s help in resolving the issue of Japanese abductees believed to be still held in the North.
Moon said proper steps will be taken to guarantee North Korea compliance before any sanctions are eased.
In a separate meeting, Moon and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said North Korea should receive a security guarantee for the Kim regime in exchange for complete denuclearization, SP News reported Wednesday.
China and South Korea also agreed to begin a research study of the feasibility of a rail link between Seoul and China, with a connection in Sinuiju, North Korea.
Abe and Li discussed ways to avoid tensions in disputed areas, and agreed to operate a communications hotline starting in June, according to Kyodo News.
Abe said the two sides should take a “step up” to improve relations that have declined owing to territorial and historical disputes.
Kyodo also reported Japan signaled interest in cooperation with China’s One Belt One Road initiative of global economic integration.