Japan’s Abe hails Korea summit, seeks ‘concrete action’

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe welcomed the historic summit between the two Koreas but urged Pyongyang to take "concrete action" on denuclearisation

Tokyo (AFP) – Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe welcomed a historic summit between the two Koreas on Friday, urging Pyongyang to take “concrete action” on the peninsula’s denuclearisation and other issues.

“Today President Moon Jae-in and Chairman Kim Jong Un held earnest discussions about North Korea’s denuclearisation. I want to welcome that as a positive move toward comprehensive resolution of various issues concerning North Korea,” Abe told reporters in Tokyo.

The leaders of North and South Korea agreed Friday to pursue a permanent peace and the complete denuclearisation of the divided peninsula, as they embraced after a historic summit laden with symbolism.

“We strongly hope that North Korea will take concrete action through this meeting and a summit between the US and North Korea,” he added.

“We will keep watching North Korea’s future movements,” he said.

Japan has long maintained a hardline position on negotiations with Pyongyang, warning against “talks for the sake of talks”.

But Friday’s Korea summit and planned talks between US President Donald Trump and Kim appear to have pushed Tokyo to reassess its position, analysts said.

“All in all, I wish to continue close coordination between Japan, the United States and South Korea towards comprehensive resolution of the abduction, nuclear and missile issues, and towards the US-North Korea summit talks,” Abe said.

Japan has pushed to keep the issue of its citizens kidnapped by North Korean agents on the agenda as diplomacy with Pyongyang moves forward.

The whirlwind activity has largely left Tokyo on the sidelines however, though Trump pledged after a meeting with Abe that he would keep the abductions issue on the agenda.