Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has reportedly requested the South Korean government to mediate in order to secure a North Korea-Japan summit. Efforts are being made to arrange a series of summit meetings including a South Korea-China-Japan summit, and South Korea-Japan summit, ahead of inter-Korean and North Korea-U.S. summits, while the chance for a Pyongyang-Tokyo summit is also escalating. As such, mood of dialogue is picking up momentum in and around the Korean Peninsula.
“The Japanese government has requested the South Korean government to mediate a meeting between Prime Minister Abe and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un,” a diplomatic source with knowledge in Seoul-Tokyo relations said on Sunday. Tokyo is preparing for a U.S.-Japan summit in April as well. In his telephone call with President Moon Jae-in on Friday, Prime Minister Abe expressed his expectations for a Pyongyang-Tokyo summit to follow the upcoming inter-Korean and U.S.-North Korea summits, the South Korean presidential office said.
Abe reportedly mentioned the “Pyongyang Declaration,” which then Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi announced when he visited North Korea in September 2002. The Pyongyang Declaration included normalization of Pyongyang-Tokyo ties and Japanese citizens kidnapped by the North.
Japan’s efforts to hold a Pyongyang-Tokyo summit is apparently due to Prime Minister Abe’s concern that Japan could be left out of the growing mood of dialogue on the Korean Peninsula if it continues to push for a hard-line stance, now that a North Korea-U.S. summit has become a reality following an inter-Korean summit.
“It is time for Japan to accurately grasp the prevailing situation, and deeply agonize over its North Korea policy,” North Korea’s Korean Central News Agency said on Saturday. “We have already warned that if Japanese reactionaries continue to be irrational and behave badly, they will lose a chance to buy tickets to Pyongyang forever.”
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