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Abe succeeds in enlisting U.S. backing for his new DPRK approach

All national papers reported that Prime Minister Abe seemed pleased with President Trump’s endorsement of his overture for dialogue with the DPRK. When meeting with the families of the Japanese abductees at the Akasaka Palace right after the summit, the President reportedly said: “The United States remains committed to the issue of abductions, which I know is a top priority for Prime Minister Abe…. The United States will continue to support Japan’s effort” to bring the victims home.


The dailies observed, however, that despite the premier’s statement that Japan and the U.S. are “completely on the same page” with regard to North Korea, differences of opinion remain over North Korea’s latest provocations. Although PM Abe said Japan takes issue with the DPRK’s recent launches of short-range ballistic missiles, which he described as a violation of UN Security Council resolutions, the President told the press: “My people think it could have been a violation, as you know. I view it differently.” While also quoting the President as saying: “All I know is that there have been no nuclear tests….   There have been no long-range missiles going out,” Sankei and Mainichi voiced apprehension that North Korea may take advantage of these remarks to test the President’s patience by escalating provocations. According to Mainichi, an unnamed high-ranking Japanese diplomat said: “Although working-level officials of the two governments are completely in sync, the U.S.’s DPRK policy will ultimately be shaped by the President’s views.” 


Asahi added that PM Abe, who recently made a policy turnaround on North Korea, voiced support for the President’s conciliatory approach toward Kim Jong Un by telling the press: “President Trump cracked open the shell of mistrust with Chairman Kim Jong Un, pointed to the bright future beyond the denuclearization, and urged North Korea to act.  It’s a new approach. I commend his new approach.” 

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