Abe hints at possibility of Tokyo-Pyongyang talks

SEOUL • Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has hinted that his country could engage North Korea in dialogue should the inter-Korean and US-North Korea summits be successful.

The comments were made during Mr Abe's telephone conversation with South Korean President Moon Jae In on Tuesday, the South's presidential Blue House said.

"Success of the inter-Korean summit will not only lead to the success of the US-North Korea summit that will follow, but contribute to the normalisation of relations between Japan and North Korea, and provide the opportunity to fundamentally solve issues between Japan and North Korea," Mr Moon was quoted as saying by Blue House spokesman Kim Eui Kyeom.

According to Mr Kim, Mr Moon then asked Mr Abe whether he considers Japan-North Korea talks to be necessary, to which the Japanese leader hinted at the possibility.

Mr Abe said that successful inter-Korean and US-North Korea talks will lead to dialogue between Tokyo and Pyongyang.

"Successful inter-Korean and US-North Korea summits would mean nuclear and missile issues, and abduction issues being resolved," Mr Kim quoted Mr Abe as saying.

"In that case, resolution of past issues between Japan and North Korea and normalisation of relations could be achieved."

During the 40-minute conversation, Mr Moon also said that a peace treaty between the two Koreas will require the agreement of the US, and that he will cooperate with the US as well as Japan to create circumstances that will allow such a treaty.

Mr Moon also said he has raised the issue of abducted Japanese citizens with North Korea and that he will relay Mr Abe's position to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un during his meeting tomorrow.

THE KOREA HERALD/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 26, 2018, with the headline 'Abe hints at possibility of Tokyo-Pyongyang talks'. Print Edition | Subscribe