Japan says to normalize N. Korea ties if nuclear, abduction issues solved

Anna Jefferson
May 10, 2018

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang delivers a speech while attending a business summit of China, Japan and South Korea along with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and South Korean President Moon Jae-in in Tokyo, Japan, May 9, 2018.

Abe and Moon agreed that his visit to Japan, the first in seven years by a South Korean president, symbolized the resumption of shuttle diplomacy between Tokyo and Seoul.

The leaders vowed to continue joint efforts to ensure the inter-Korean summit will contribute to peace and stability in Northeast Asia, and expressed hope for a successful summit between North Korea and the U.S.

Coming off his meeting on April 27 with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, Moon said of Japan and China, "Amid the course toward peace on the Korean Peninsula, the support and cooperation of the two nations will definitely be necessary". But it is unclear what form of cooperation will emerge in the statement.

North Korea has recently voiced its commitment to denuclearization.

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Chinese Premier Li Keqiang was quoted as saying that North Korea has a "clear will toward denuclearization and is doing what the country should do".

During his meeting with Xi, Kim said the Korean Peninsula's denuclearisation was Pyongyang's "clear and consistent position".

For its part, South Korea is emphasizing provisions laid out in the Panmunjon Declaration.

We also look forward to the meeting between the USA and North Korea and will be pleased to see a meeting between North Korea and Japan and hope it would resolve issues of interest to Japan.

Trump's trade pressure on China and Japan, the world's second and third-largest economies, appeared to have had an impact as Li urged swifter discussions on regional free trade deals, such as a Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership backed by Beijing.

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The combined gross domestic product of the three nations represents about 20 percent of the world total.

At the news conference, Li said negotiations for the FTA and RCEP must be sped up because "free trade has to be maintained".

Abe said he is "looking forward to visiting China (again) at an appropriate time" following a request from Li.

As Japan and China mark the 40th anniversary of their peace and friendship treaty this year, their eagerness for renewed friendship was on full display as Abe and Li stood together side by side at Akasaka Palace.

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