Asahi took up press remarks on Wednesday by Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga, who commented on the summit scheduled to be held between Prime Minister Abe and President Trump at the White House on June 7 by saying: “It is extremely important for the planned U.S.-North Korea summit to become an opportunity to deliver substantive progress not only on the nuclear and missile fronts but also the abduction issue, which is most important. We would like to coordinate closely [with the U.S.] in the run-up to the Singapore summit.”
In a related story, Sankei conjectured that Abe decided to travel to Washington for talks with the U.S. leader based on the assessment that he would be able to spend more time with the President discussing North Korea there than if he held a bilateral meeting on the margins of the annual G7 summit to be convened in Canada on June 8-9. The premier is reportedly set to press President Trump not to rush into a nuclear deal with Kim Jong Un potentially involving the reduction or withdrawal of U.S. troops from South Korea. The prime minister will probably ask the President not to compromise on complete, verifiable, and irreversible denuclearization. The paper claimed that since the abduction issue is not viewed as a high priority in the U.S., Abe is expected to ask the President to bring up the matter without fail in the anticipated summit with his North Korean counterpart.
Mainichi ran a similar story, adding that GOJ officials, including PM Abe, are worried that President Trump may be tempted to make concessions to North Korea ahead of the midterm elections in November. An unnamed senior MOFA official reportedly said: “It is necessary to repeatedly remind President Trump that the U.S. must not offer any rewards to North Korea without progress on the abductions.”