U.S. President Donald Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe have agreed to meet before a possible U.S.-North Korea summit, a report said Monday, amid Tokyo’s apparent efforts to stay relevant in a flurry of diplomacy related to North Korea.
Japan’s Kyodo News also reported that after telephone talks with Trump, Abe said that Tokyo and Washington have agreed to cooperate to make the summit between the American president and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un “meaningful.”
The unprecedented summit between Trump and Kim is expected to be held in Singapore on June 12, as their officials have been ironing out details, such as the agenda and other issues, through working-level talks.
Late last week, the summit was on the verge of collapse, as Trump abruptly canceled it on Thursday, citing “tremendous anger and open hostility” from the North. But after a conciliatory statement from Pyongyang, Trump has indicated that the summit could go ahead as planned.
Amid fast-paced diplomacy, Japan appears to be increasingly wary of being sidelined, analysts said. During the phone talks, Abe is said to have asked Trump to raise the issue of Japanese nationals abducted by the North should the summit with Kim take place.
The Trump-Kim summit is expected to focus on the North’s denuclearization.
Washington has reportedly demanded a swift and stringent denuclearization process, while Pyongyang favors a “phased, synchronous” approach, which critics say seeks to string out negotiations and wring out more concessions.