Peace process in Korea: Tokyo working on an Abe-Kim summit

The Japanese premier said he wanted to meet the North Korean leader "without conditions".  The US supports the initiative.  According to media reports, Tokyo officials hope to speak with Pyongyang diplomats on the sidelines of a conference in Mongolia.  Japan and North Korea do not have formal diplomatic relations.

Tokyo (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The Japanese government plans to reach out to North Korean officials in Mongolia next week, to propose a summit between Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, report Japanese media, citing government sources.

Abe said he wanted to meet Kim "unconditionally", easing his previous position.  Previously, the premer stated that the prerequisite for a summit would be Pyongyang's rapprochement with Japanese citizens kidnapped by North Korean intelligence agents in the 1970s and 1980s.  US President Donald J. Trump - who met Kim twice for the negotiations on the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula - said he supported an Abe-Kim summit during this week's state visit to Tokyo.

According to media sources, Japanese officials are hoping to talk to North Korean diplomats on the sidelines of a security conference in Northeast Asia, which will be held from June 5 to 6 in Ulaan Bataar.  The conference will represent a rare opportunity for Japanese and North Korean officials, as these countries do not have formal diplomatic relations.  Japan is expected to send a senior official from the Foreign and Asian Affairs Office to the conference, while North Korea could send a deputy foreign minister.