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Japan's Abe keen to hold direct talks with Kim in Pyongyang

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Japan's Abe keen to hold direct talks with Kim in Pyongyang

Japan is working to arrange a meeting between Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, Reuters reported, citing the Yomiuri Shimbun. There is a possibility Abe will visit North Korea in August.

He has made a political pledge of solving the issue of Japanese citizens abducted by North Korea, and has said Japan would hold back economic assistance to North Korea until those issues, along with denuclearization, are resolved.

"I'm determined that Japan has to solve the issue by talking directly with North Korea," Abe said in Tokyo after being briefed by President Donald Trump by phone after his meeting in Singapore with the Korean leader, The Asahi Shimbun reported June 13.

Japan will contribute to the costs of North Korea's denuclearization but only after the International Atomic Energy Agency restarts inspections, a spokesman said June 13, reported Reuters.

The joint statement of Trump and Kim did not refer to a deadline for the dismantling of North Korea's nuclear arsenal, which Japan considered essential, said The Asahi Shimbun.

An alternative to a Pyongyang visit would be for Abe to meet Kim on the sidelines of the Eastern Economic Forum to be held in September in Vladivostok, Russia, if the North Korean leader attends, Reuters said, citing the Yomiuri Shimbun. But it is also unclear whether Abe would be able to attend the conference as his ruling Liberal Democratic Party is due hold an election in September.