S. Korean leader to urge Kim Jong Un to hold talks with Abe
September 16, 2018
South Korean President Moon Jae-in is expected to once again urge North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to hold direct talks with Japan to resolve pressing issues between the two nations.
Moon is scheduled to visit Pyongyang on Sept. 18 for a meeting with the North Korean leader.
According to a source knowledgeable about relations between the two Koreas, Moon will repeat a request he made to Kim Jong Un in April to meet with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
South Korean officials believe that direct talks between Japan and North Korea would contribute to easing the tense mood and economic sanctions directed at Pyongyang by the international community.
The source said that during a Sept. 5 meeting in Pyongyang with North Korean officials, Suh Hoon, the director of South Korea's National Intelligence Service, said that various issues, such as the abduction of Japanese nationals by North Korea, could only be resolved through direct negotiations between Japan and North Korea.
On Sept. 10, Suh met with Abe in Tokyo and passed on a similar message. The source said Abe told Suh that he was prepared to meet with Kim Jong Un.
With that as background, Moon is expected to once again urge the North Korean leader to hold direct talks with Abe.
The government has apparently tried to use diplomatic channels to pass a message to Kim Jong Un from Abe that direct summit talks should be held to resolve not only the abduction issue, but also issues related to North Korea's nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs.
However, Japan did not mention an issue that North Korea has placed the greatest priority on, namely, an accounting of issues related to the past, including Japanese colonial domination over the Korean Peninsula.
Japan apparently is seeking to hold direct talks between Abe and Kim Jong Un without compromising on a key position held by Pyongyang.
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