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Foreign Minister Kono says DPRK must complete denuclearization by 2020

Saturday morning’s Nikkei front-paged an interview with Foreign Minister Kono, who said that North Korea should terminate all of its nuclear programs by the 2020 U.S. presidential election at the latest. He said he would like to see North Korea’s complete denuclearization while the current leaders of the U.S., Japan, and South Korea are still in office. He stressed that no “rewards” will be given to Pyongyang unless it takes “clear and irreversible” denuclearization measures. On the abduction issue, the minister noted that it must be resolved ultimately through Japan-DPRK normalization talks.

 

Nikkei speculated in a separate article that Japan’s goal of denuclearization by 2020 may have been set with President Trump’s potential bid for reelection in mind, claiming that Japan considers his presence to be imperative in resolving the nuclear standoff on account of his willingness to resort to military means if necessary. The daily opined that Japan is afraid that unless denuclearization is completed during President Trump’s first term, North Korea’s nuclear weapons will become fully operational and this will pose a grave threat to national security. 

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