TOKYO – Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said on Thursday that the pressure on North Korea should not be eased nor any initiative be offered to the country despite its willingness to engage in talks on its denuclearization.
In an address to the Lower House, Abe gave his first assessment of the visit by a high-level South Korean delegation to the North, which resulted in an invitation to an inter-Korean summit in Pyongyang.
That summit is expected to herald possible talks between North Korea and the United States.
Abe said sanctions on North Korea should not be loosened despite its willingness to hold talks and expressed his government’s skepticism about Pyongyang’s intentions while reiterating its policy of putting maximum pressure on the regime, in line with that of its ally, the US.
The prime minister stressed that talks with North Korea were meaningless unless the country took concrete steps towards denuclearization.
Abe also announced that next week he will receive in Tokyo South Korea’s National Intelligence Service chief Suh Hoon, who was part of the delegation that visited Pyongyang earlier this week and met North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
The aim of the meeting will be to talk about the discussions held with the top leadership of the hermetic regime.
According to the South Korean delegation, Kim Jong-un told the envoys of his willingness to negotiate the denuclearization of his country with the US.
The senior South Korean representatives added that Pyongyang also gave a special message for Washington, which they could not make public.
Although Washington has been optimistic with regard to the North Korean offer for talks, it has also expressed some skepticism owing to the attitude displayed by Pyongyang during earlier talks that did not result in it halting its weapons programs.