Japan remains cautious over talks between America and North Korea
Chika Mori and Lee Jay Walker
Modern Tokyo Times
Events on the Korean Peninsula seem to be moving quickly based on the prospect of President Donald Trump meeting Kim Jong-un, the leader of North Korea. This prospect comes after many months of hostile rhetoric between Trump and Kim. Therefore, the speed of the possible U-turn is somewhat unexpected in the corridors of power in Tokyo.
Hence, the Prime Minister of Japan, Shinzo Abe, will talk directly with Trump before the proposed meeting between the leaders of America and North Korea. The meeting between Abe and Trump will take place in America in April. However, with Japan also focusing on the abduction issue, along with the need for the denuclearization of North Korea and stemming missiles from this nation from entering Japanese airspace, then it is clear that Japan is somewhat lukewarm about the meeting between Trump and Kim.
Yet, North Korea would gain if Japan raised too many issues because any hints of differences between Trump and Abe would be welcomed by the political and military elites based in Pyongyang. In this sense, Abe is being put in a very difficult situation because many Japanese nationals, while seeking genuine dialogue and a fresh approach, remain skeptical.
Abe welcomes the “shifting ground” of North Korea but the leader of Japan believes that “maximum pressure” must remain until real change occurs. After all, in the past, you had hopes of real change but in time little happened. However, Abe loathes creating even minor ripples between the end-goals of America under Trump, even if secretly Japan is worried about the sincerity of North Korea.
Trump said on social media, “Kim Jong-un talked about denuclearization with the South Korean Representatives, not just a freeze.”
Sarah Sanders, the White House spokesperson, said, “The president will not have the meeting without seeing concrete steps and concrete actions take place by North Korea, so the president will actually be getting something.”
China welcomes the possible thaw between America and North Korea, unlike Japan that is distrustful of the motives of North Korea. President Xi Jinping, the leader of China, said he “hopes the United States and North Korea start contacts and dialogue as soon as possible and strive to reach positive results.”
Abe told Japanese politicians, in relation to North Korea and the proposed meeting between Trump and Kim, that “Sanctions should not be eased just because the country came forward for dialogue.”
Abe continued, “Concrete actions towards denuclearisation are necessary. We will raise the pressure to the maximum.”
Hence, Japan will remain vigilant and demand that pressure is continued on North Korea prior to planned talks between Trump and Kim. Equally, Abe needs to reassure the nationals of Japan that North Korea is sincere and can be trusted. Therefore, Abe will not seek to rock the boat between America and Japan on this important geopolitical issue. However, Abe is making it known that distrust remains throughout the corridors of power in Japan towards the real motives of North Korea.
Modern Tokyo News is part of the Modern Tokyo Times group
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