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Japanese government remains cautious while South Korea optomistic following North Korea peace talks in Tokyo

March 16, 2018  |  Posted by: Francesca Falzarano
Japanese government remains cautious while South Korea optomistic following North Korea peace talks in Tokyo

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Japan and South Korea expressed stark differences on how to manage North Korea’s Nuclear program following peace talks on Tuesday with officals in Seoul upbeat on prospects while the Japanese government remained more cautious and demanded the communist regime is held accountable for Japanese citizens who were kidnapped by North Korea decades ago.

Hints of easing tensions with North Korea began during the Winter Olympics, when the communist regime sent a high-level delegation, which included Kim Yo-jong, sister of communist leader Kim Jong-Un to the South for the event, after over a year of increasing alarm over the North’s nuclear weapon and missile experiments.

Japanese officials have remained more uneasy over the prospect of talks between the North and South Koreas and the U.S.

Tokyo has suggested that “talks for the sake of talks” would not be acceptable.

According to Reuters, South Korea have been briefing neighbors and allies, which includes Japan, on a delegation’s visit to North Korea last week, which incorporated talks with communist dictator leader Kim Jong Un and negotiations on summits with both South Korean and U.S. officials

On Tuesday, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe met South Korean National Intelligence Service chief Suh Hoon, who traveled North Korea for further discussions on Monday with Japanese Minister of Foreign Affairs Taro Kono.

Abe said that Japan wanted any denuclearization talks with North Korea to also address a debate over the kidnapping of Japanese citizens by North Koreans in the 1970s and 1980s. He also stated that North Korea had to show compliance to disarm.

“A resolution of the abduction, nuclear and missile issues is Japan’s policy,” Abe stated. “North Korea must match words with actions.”

A source with the Japanese government later noted that Tokyo was considering seeking a summit between Abe and North Korea’s Kim to address the kidnappings.

Abe has made the abductions a foundation of his political career and has said he would not stop until all 13 individuals that North Korea confessed to kidnapping have returned and the isolated state discloses information about the others Japan believes were taken to train North Korean spies.

North Korea has so far released five people they abducted, allowing them to return home to Japan.

Abe’s emphasis that the kidnappings be involved in any North Korean talks has caused apparent tensions with their South Korean counterparts.

Considering that possibility, South Korea’s presidential office did not mention Abe’s request of the abduction issue in a statement after his meeting with Suh.

The South’s presidential Blue House said Abe told Suh he did not think that North Korea would use the meetings to buy time to proceed with its nuclear and missile efforts.

A Japanese foreign ministry spokesperson refused to confirm whether Abe made the comment but said it was unusual for South Korea to be making remarks on Japan’s behalf.

On Monday, the Blue House reported that Japanese Foreign Minister Kono said that the progress with North Korea was considered a “miracle.”

In Japan, Kono did not mention a miracle but indicated that Japan and South Korea had agreed to place “maximum pressure” on North Korea until it takes “concrete action.”

Meanwhile, Trump has accepted an invitation to meet Kim Jong-Un by the end of May and South Korean President Moon Jae-in said he intended to hold direct talks with Kim by the end of April.

Prior to his ousting, former U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said that preparations for Trump’s meeting, including the location and agenda, are still at an “early stage.”

The White House said it fully anticipates that the meeting will occur, but only if North Korea maintains its promises.

Abe, who asked Trump for assistance in resolving the abduction issue in a call after the planned talks were announced, said he will meet Trump in the U.S. in April.

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