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INTERNATIONAL > East Asia & Pacific

Editorial: Process for denuclearizing N. Korea must be explored by relevant nations

Urging North Korea to dismantle its nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles, and building peace and stability in the East Asian region: Arrangements should be made for the United States, together with Japan, China and South Korea, to cooperate to address these challenges.


Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and South Korean President Moon Jae In held a trilateral summit in Tokyo and confirmed a policy of expanding cooperation in a wide range of fields, including trade, culture and the environment.


The trilateral summit was held for the first time in 2½ years. Such factors as a deterioration in Japan-China relations and in China-South Korea relations had been a hindrance. The three-way summit should be, once again, held on a regular basis so that it can serve as the foundation for trilateral cooperation.


The leaders of the three countries agreed to cooperate toward the complete, verifiable and irreversible dismantlement of North Korea’s nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles. Abe emphasized that “it is necessary to have North Korea take concrete action.”

It is hugely significant that the three countries, with Japan as chair, have confirmed trilateral cooperation.


The three leaders also valued highly the Panmunjom Declaration, which stipulates the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and was signed during the inter-Korean summit. On the basis of the latest accord, it is important for the three countries to work toward sharing a view regarding policy toward North Korea.


Prime Minister Abe, in seeking cooperation to resolve the issue of Japanese nationals abducted by North Korea, obtained understanding from Li and Moon. The government must tenaciously pursue an early return home of the abductees.


Bring Beijing in step


Ahead of the U.S.-North Korea summit scheduled to be held by early June, diplomatic negotiations among relevant countries are intensifying.


Kim Jong Un, chairman of the Workers’ Party of Korea, held talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Dalian in Liaoning Province, China. It is unusual for a North Korean top leader to make visits to China within such a short span of time. Kim apparently intends to attend the talks with U.S. President Donald Trump, by gaining a backer in China.


During the talks, Kim once again made clear his standpoint of seeking Washington to take “phased and synchronized measures.” In response, Xi held talks with Trump over the phone and, based on Kim’s request, called on the United States to take a flexible response.


North Korea’s stance of hoping to get a phased removal of sanctions in return for denuclearization, and China’s posture of supporting North Korea’s stance, have become clear.


North Korea has repeatedly broken its promises on nuclear agreements made with the United States and other countries. Definitively establishing procedures for nuclear dismantlement and their timing, while maintaining the pressure on North Korea until those objectives are achieved so as to not repeat the same mistakes of the past: This basic policy, advocated by the Japanese and U.S. governments, is appropriate.


Both countries should also urge China to fall into step.


With Mike Pompeo, the U.S. secretary of state, having visited North Korea again, the preparations for the U.S.-North Korea summit talks have reached the final stage.


It is important that Abe strives to realize a complete denuclearization that the international community can accept, by communicating ever closely with Trump.

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