All papers reported on Sunday that the USG reacted positively to Kim Jong Un’s decision to freeze his nation’s nuclear development, with President Trump saying in a tweet that it is “very good news.” Asahi wrote the U.S. leader appeared to be pleased with the development, conjecturing that he seeks to cut a nuclear deal with Kim at their planned summit in order to play up his diplomatic leadership ahead of the midterm elections. Today’s dailies took up the President’s separate tweet posted on Sunday, in which he wrote: “We haven’t given up anything & they have agreed to denuclearization (so great for World), site closure, & no more testing!”
As for Japan’s reaction to the announcement, Prime Minister Abe reportedly told the press: “This is a positive development…. We would like to watch carefully to see if this move will lead to the complete, verifiable, and irreversible abandonment of nuclear arsenals, weapons of mass destruction, and missiles.” However, he underscored that the existing policy of applying strong pressure on North Korea will continue in coordination with the U.S. and South Korea. Defense Minister Onodera said: “As Kim Jong Un did not mention the removal of medium- and short-range ballistic missiles, this is not enough. The pressure must not be eased right now.” The dailies said the GOJ is suspicious of Kim’s motives, suspecting that he is trying to drive a wedge between the U.S. and Japan. Asahi opined that despite the fact that President Trump and PM Abe confirmed enhanced mutual cooperation against North Korea at their summit in Mar-a-Lago, the GOJ may still be concerned that the U.S. leader could seek a deal with Kim Jong Un that fails to address Japan’s concern about short- and medium-range missiles.