Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in a possible meeting with Kim Jong-un of North Korea

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in a possible meeting with Kim Jong-un of North Korea 

Noriko Watanabe and Lee Jay Walker 

Modern Tokyo Times

Tentative reports are stressing that a possible meeting may take place between Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan and the leader of North Korea, Kim Jong-un. Of course, nothing is concrete at the moment but with developments changing rapidly on the Korean Peninsula – and between America and North Korea – then Japan will not want to be left out in the cold.

Not surprisingly, given the charged atmosphere Japan and North Korea don’t have diplomatic ties. Despite this, back channels and information naturally flow when the political elites in Pyongyang decide on changing tact.

The Chief Cabinet Secretary of Japan, Yoshihide Suga, said, Japan and North Korea have been negotiating through various opportunities and in various channels, such as through the embassy in Beijing.”

Of course, in Japan, and a notable theme of Abe is the abduction of Japanese nationals to North Korea that took place in the 1970s and 1980s. Hence, while North Korea will be focused on economic aid from Japan if developments with America and South Korea are improved, it is clear that the issue is more complex for Japan. This applies to the abduction issue, North Korea violating the aerospace of Japan via several missiles entering the tip of Northern Japan, and the concern of all parties in relation to the missile and nuclear programs of North Korea.

Changes in North Korea are often dramatic, even if steps often go backward, after years of dormant developments. Yet, the current leader of North Korea is the most unpredictable of all North Korean leaders. Hence, Kim’s proposed meeting with President Moon Jae-in of South Korea, in late April, will follow on from his recent meeting with the leader of China, President Xi Jinping. After this, Kim is in talks with meeting President Donald Trump in May.

Naturally, the leader of Japan plans to meet the leader of America before the proposed meeting between Trump and Kim. Equally, Abe hopes that China, Japan, and South Korea will hold an important summit about developments on the Korean Peninsula in May. Therefore, if Japan and North Korea can agree to meet in late May or June, or slightly after this date, then all-important regional nations will be setting many motions in place. Hence, it remains to be seen if the Russian Federation will seek talks with North Korea because the political elites in Moscow are equally concerned about the geopolitical space of this nation.

Modern Tokyo News is part of the Modern Tokyo Times group

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