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Thread: North Korea and Japan to discuss bilateral summit in latest round of diplomacy

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  1. #1
    Senior Member Judy's Avatar
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    North Korea and Japan to discuss bilateral summit in latest round of diplomacy

    North Korea and Japan to discuss bilateral summit in latest round of diplomacy

    Nicola Smith, Taipei Danielle Demetriou, Tokyo
    30 April 2018 • 9:21am

    Shinzo Abe, the Japanese prime minister, and Kim Jong-un, the North Korean leader, are exploring a possible meeting to discuss the abduction of Japanese nationals and Pyongyang's pledge to move towards denuclearisation.

    Kim told Moon Jae-in, the South Korean president, at a historic summit on Friday that he was "ready for dialogue with Japan at any time." The message was relayed by Mr Moon in a phone call to Mr Abe on Sunday.

    South Korean intelligence chief, Suh Hoon, also debriefed the Japanese leader about the inter-Korean summit, during a visit to Tokyo. Mr Abe had expressed "deep interest", he later told reporters.

    Mr Abe is now expected to start taking steps towards arranging the suggested bilateral Tokyo-Pyongyang summit.

    Before leaving on a five-day Middle East tour, he thanked Mr Moon for his “sincerity” for keeping his word to raise the long-standing and sensitive issue of Japanese abductions with Kim.

    At least 17 Japanese citizens were abducted by North Korean agents in the 1970s and 1980s to help train their spies, an issue that Mr Abe has repeatedly pledged to tackle throughout his political career.

    The abductions, in addition to denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula, would dominate the agenda of any bilateral summit.

    However, Japan has reacted cautiously to the joint North-South Korean pledge at Friday’s meeting to work towards “complete denuclearisation”, pointing to the absence of a clear roadmap for doing so.

    “We shouldn’t be caught up in the moment and swing too far in a reconciliatory direction,” an anonymous senior foreign ministry official source told the Mainichi Shimbun newspaper.

    However, North Korea appears keen to show it is acting in good faith. On Monday, Pyongyang said that it would reset its clocks by half an hour this coming Saturday to realign with South Korea, in the latest conciliatory gesture in leader Kim’s ongoing international charm offensive.

    Pyongyang’s time zone has been 30 minutes behind Seoul since 2015, but Kim said it was a “painful wrench” to see clocks showing different times as he met with the South’s President Moon Jae-in for a historic, and amiable, summit on Friday.

    “Since it was we who changed the time standard, we will return to the original one. You can make it public,” Kim was quoted as saying by Mr Moon’s chief press secretary Yoon Young-chan. His decision was backed by North Korea’s leadership on Monday.

    State newswire, KCNA, reported that the Presidium of the Supreme People’s Assembly had decreed that the change would be “the first practical step for national reconciliation and unity.”

    The move will precede a more dramatic pledge by Kim to dismantle his country’s main nuclear testing site, Punggye-ri, at a later date in May, in full view of South Korean and US experts.

    Both decisions appear to be part of a determined recent effort by Kim to transform his international image from reclusive, war-mongering dictator to that of an international statesman committed to pursuing peace.

    “Pyongyang Time” was created in 2015 as a swipe at Japan, to cast off the legacy of “Japanese imperialists.” It was enforced on August 15, to mark the 70th anniversary of the country’s independence from Japanese rule at the end of World War II.

    The proposed meeting with Mr Abe is a sign of rapidly shifting diplomacy in East Asia, and one of several key meetings likely to take place over the next few months.

    China will also send the government’s top diplomat, Wang Yi, to visit North Korea on Wednesday and Thursday, it’s foreign ministry announced on Monday.

    Friday’s extraordinary meeting, heavy on the symbolism of renewed friendship but short on fresh policy decisions, prompted a mixed response from US officials over the weekend.

    National Security Adviser John Bolton, a known sceptic towards North Korea, told Fox News that the Trump administration was not “starry-eyed” over Kim’s recent promises, adding that Washington was not ready to ease sanctions before Pyongyang fully committed to denuclearisation.

    Mr Bolton said the US had the “Libya model” in mind, referring to a 2003 agreement that resulted in the country relinquishing its nuclear weapons.

    The location of a future summit between Kim and US President Donald Trump was still under negotiation, he said. “But if, in fact, Kim has made a strategic decision to give up his entire nuclear weapons programme, then I think deciding on the place and date should be fairly easy,” he added.

    Meanwhile newly appointed secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, who met personally with Kim over Easter while still CIA chief, told ABC news that the US had an obligation to find a peaceful diplomatic solution to North Korea’s nuclear weapons issue.

    He said he saw a “real opportunity” for progress since meeting with Kim, adding that they had a "good conversation" on the "hardest issues that face our two countries."

    The North Korean leader was "prepared" to "lay out a map that would help us achieve that objective," he said, referring to complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearisation.

    https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/201...und-diplomacy/
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  2. #2
    Senior Member Judy's Avatar
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    Rollin' right along!

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    Moderator Beezer's Avatar
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    I really hope they can have peace now. Good for all.
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