TOKYO – Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono arrived in Seoul on Wednesday to meet his counterparts from the United States and South Korea, Mike Pompeo and Kang Kyung-wha, respectively, for a trilateral meet and discuss the outcome of Tuesday’s historic summit between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
Kono is on a two-day visit to the city to discuss a new chapter of relations with North Korea, which began at the summit in Singapore between Trump and Kim.
Kono is set to meet Pompeo and Kang on Thursday, and would also pay a courtesy visit to South Korean President Moon Jae-in, the Japanese foreign ministry said in a statement.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe had called the Trump-Kim summit a “first step,” toward resolving matters related to North Korea.
However, Tokyo had also urged caution and said Pyongyang’s commitment to denuclearization has to convert into concrete actions apart from expressing concerns about Trump’s announcement that the US would suspend joint military exercises with South Korea.
Seoul is yet to issue a formal statement on the announcement, saying it was studying the exact meaning and intent of Trump’s comments.
The US president had said on Tuesday the military drills on the Peninsula – which Pyongyang has repeatedly criticized as rehearsals for invading its territory – were “provocative,” and added that suspending them would save the US a “tremendous amount” of money.
Trump, however, had also stressed that the US military capabilities in South Korea – where Washington deploys 28,500 troops – would not be reduced at the moment.
On Thursday, Kono will also hold separate meetings with his South Korean and American counterparts after their trilateral meeting.