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Ambassador Hagerty on U.S.-DPRK summit, U.S.-Japan ties, abductions

U.S. Ambassador to Japan William Hagerty gave an interview to Jiji Press in Tokyo on April 22. He indicated that the Trump administration will also demand that North Korea eliminate its biological and chemical weapons, as well as completely denuclearize, at the U.S.-DPRK summit to be held by early June. According to the ROK government, it is believed that North Korea produces and possesses over 5,000 tons of deadly nerve agents, such as VX and sarin.

 

Ambassador Hagerty participated in the small-group meetings of the Japan-U.S. summit held in Florida on April 17 and 18. He disclosed that “Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and President Donald Trump engaged in an in-depth discussion on (North Korea’s) biological and chemical weapons and other weapons of mass destruction, as well as the timetable (for their elimination). I could feel a sense of urgency from their conversation.”

 

The U.S. government has determined that VX was used in the assassination of Workers’ Party of Korea Chairman Kim Jong Un’s half-brother Kim Jong Nam in Malaysia in February 2017. North Korea was redesignated a state sponsor of terrorism as a result of this incident.

 

The Ambassador also pointed out that “the two leaders both realize they are facing a historical turning point.” He stressed that “the President has stated that the U.S.-DPRK summit will bear fruit, and this will be verifiable.”

 

With regard to Trump’s statement that he will take up the abduction issue at the U.S.-DPRK summit, Hagerty explained that “I invited the families of the abduction victims to my residence last week to listen to how they feel and what they think.” He added: “The President understands that the abduction issue is a very serious matter for the victims’ families and the Japanese people.”

 

Commenting on North Korea’s announcement of the suspension of nuclear tests and ICBM launches, he said: “This is proof that the international community’s maintaining maximum pressure has produced results. This is a very good thing for the North Korean people.”

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