Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Thursday that he wants to meet North Korean leader Kim Jong Un "unconditionally." Abe expressed his will to hold a summit with Kim repeatedly in the past but it was the first time he said he wanted to meet the North Korean leader “unconditionally.”
"It is more than important for our country to be proactive in tackling the issue," the prime minister said in an interview with the Sankei Shimbun. "We can't break the shell of mutual distrust between Japan and North Korea unless I directly face Mr. Kim," he said.
Abe expressed his willingness to hold a summit with Kim several times. He seems to have sent a more positive message to North Korea out of concern that he is the only leader of the countries that participated in the six-party talks on denuclearizing the North following the North Korea-Russia summit late last month.
Japan’s 2019 diplomatic bluebook has also suggested Tokyo’s flexible gesture toward the North, as it removed the expressions such as “unprecedented, grave and imminent threat” and “maximum pressure” regarding the North.