Abe urged to ensure Trump-Kim talks help resolve N Korean abductions

Andrew Cummings
February 20, 2019

Next week's meeting follows a landmark summit between Mr Trump and Mr Kim in Singapore last June, the first for sitting leaders of the United States and North Korea - who are technically still at war.

There were more cameras at his first summit with Kim Jong Un than the Academy Awards, President Donald Trump likes to boast to fellow foreign leaders.

Trump noted that North Korea has not tested any rockets or missiles or nuclear weapons in months and said as long as testing has ceased, he's in no rush.

"We would not oppose diplomatic normalization if all the abduction victims are immediately returned altogether", 80-year-old Shigeo Iizuka, who heads a group of the families, said in line with the message they wrote.

Kim, chief secretary of North Korea's State Affairs Commission, is known as the de facto chief of staff to the communist nation's leader.

Biegun is expected to fly there soon from Washington to resume talks with Kim Hyok Chol.

Palladino did not respond directly when asked about reports that the two sides were discussing the exchange of liaison officers and declaring an end to the 1950-53 Korean War.

Earlier on Tuesday, Trump spoke with South Korean President Moon Jae-in about the summit and he plans to talk to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Wednesday.

Moon told Trump in the call that his country is willing to open economic engagement with North Korea as a "concession" if it will hasten Pyongyang's denuclearisation, the South Korean president's office said.

In the past, Moon has said that Trump deserves the prize for engaging with Kim Jong Un directly, in a way no other American president has.

Since Trump and Kim first met in June previous year, there has been little progress in talks between the two countries, while Moon and Kim have forged ahead with multiple summits of their own, as well as promises of inter-Korean cooperation on everything from reducing border tensions to launching a joint bid for the 2032 Olympics.

On Tuesday, a Vietnamese source with knowledge of planning for high-level diplomatic meetings told AFP that several North Korean officials had visited the China border area on Monday.

Earlier this month, two influential USA senators, Republican Ted Cruz and Democrat Robert Menendez, wrote to Pompeo warning that Kim was seeking to drive a wedge between Washington and Seoul and warning against a premature relaxation of pressure on North Korea.

Other reports by iNewsToday