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FM Kono welcomes results of U.S.-DPRK summit

NHK’s “Nichiyo Toron” Sunday debate show aired a one-on-one interview with Foreign Minister Kono, during which he expressed his views about the results of the U.S.-DPRK summit held in Singapore on June 12. Kono stated that it is significant that North Korea’s intention to denuclearize was put in writing in the joint statement and that the sanctions will remain in place if Pyongyang prolongs the denuclearization process. The foreign minister dismissed concerns that Japan’s security will be undermined if the United States suspends its joint military drills with South Korea, saying that the drills will be resumed if the DPRK fails to act in good faith. He added that according to discussions between Secretary of Defense Mattis and Defense Minister Onodera last week, the United States is not considering a troop drawdown in South Korea, and drills between the United States and Japan will continue. Kono emphasized that the DPRK will not be provided with rewards in phases and that the sanctions will be lifted only when the denuclearization is implemented in a complete, verifiable, and irreversible manner.

 

Concerning the issue of the abductions of Japanese nationals, the foreign minister said it was significant that President Trump raised the issue at his summit with the DPRK leader. He said Japan is prepared to provide economic assistance to North Korea only after the two nations normalize their diplomatic relations. When asked about the possibility of Prime Minister Abe meeting with Kim Jong Un, Kono said that Japan will not hold a summit just for the sake of holding one.

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