All national dailies reported on Prime Minister Abe’s talks with his Mongolian counterpart Khurelsukh at the Kantei on Thursday. Asahi wrote that the two leaders released a joint statement on cooperation between Japan and Mongolia in dealing with North Korea and promoting the vision of a “free and open Indo-Pacific.” The statement also included the two nations’ plan for strengthening their strategic partnership. Yomiuri, Nikkei, and Mainichi wrote that the two leaders confirmed cooperation in resolving the abduction issue and the importance of fully implementing UN Security Council resolutions on the DPRK.
Asahi added that ahead of the leaders’ meeting, Foreign Minister Kono held separate bilateral talks with his Mongolian counterpart Tsogtbaatar on Thursday. The paper speculated that the two officials discussed the current situation surrounding the DPRK, including such issues as denuclearization and the abductions, because Tsogtbaatar held talks with North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho in Ulaanbaatar on Dec. 8.