North Korea willing to talk to Japan at 'any time'

WION Web Team New Delhi, Delhi, India Apr 29, 2018, 04.10 PM(IST)

File photo of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un. Photograph:( Reuters )


North Korea leader Kim Jong-Un has agreed to have a dialogue with Japan "any time", Seoul's presidential office said Sunday, two days after the historic North-South Summit. 

Kim had a word with South Korea president Moon-Jae-in on Friday after which Moon had relayed Kim’s remark to President Shinzo Abe in a telephone call Sunday morning.

Abe told Moon that Tokyo intends to work to hold a bilateral summit with Pyongyang, adding that he hopes Moon will mediate if necessary, the Blue House said.

Reports also said that Moon also discussed the abductions of Japanese nationals during the summit adding that it was their primary focus. The abduction case remains a critical issue to any talks between Japan and North Korea. Tokyo officially recognizes 17 people as having been kidnapped by the North in the 1970s and 1980s. Five of them were returned in 2002, but the North insists eight have died and the other four never entered its territory.

The Japanese and South Korean leaders agreed to cooperate so the North will take concrete actions toward denuclearization, Abe said.

Following the telephone talks, Abe met with Suh Hoon, director of South Korea’s National Intelligence Service, who visited Tokyo to brief Abe on the landmark summit.

In a separate teleconference late on Saturday, Abe and U.S. President Donald Trump also agreed that North Korea needs to take concrete action toward denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

He said they recognized the need to closely follow developments related to North Korea in the talks held a day after the historic inter-Korean summit between North and South Korea.

The summit -- only the third-ever between the leaders of the two neighbours -- came ahead of Kim's planned meeting with US President Donald Trump after months of tensions sparked by North Korea's nuclear and long-range missile tests last year.