TOKYO -- North Korean leader Kim Jong-un gave a positive response to a summit with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Japan is mulling a visit to Pyongyang in August by Abe, Japanese media reported Thursday.
Citing multiple Japanese government officials, the Sankei Shimbun newspaper reported that Kim said he could meet with Abe while holding summit talks with US President Donald Trump in Singapore on Tuesday, adding Kim's intention has been conveyed to the Japanese government through multiple channels by the US government.
Japan`s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe speaks to media after the news conference by the US President Donald Trump, after the summit between the US and North Korea in Singapore, at Abe`s official residence in Tokyo, Japan, Tuesday. (Reuters-Yonhap)
According to the report, Trump told Kim that if Pyongyang could denuclearize, international sanctions on it would be lifted, but it is necessary for the North to hold negotiations with Japan if it wants to receive economic assistance.
Trump also explained that Japan will not be prepared to offer economic assistance to the North unless Kim settles the issue of his country's abductions of Japanese citizens with Abe and Kim showed a positive response to a summit with Abe, the report said.
The Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper said Japan has held behind-the-scenes contacts with North Korea to resolve the issue involving Japanese citizens abducted by North Korean agents in the 1970s and 1980s, and to realize Abe-Kim talks.
Japan is considering an option that Abe could visit the North in Pyongyang, the report said, adding that Abe could meet Kim in September in Russia's Far Eastern city of Vladivostok on the sidelines of an annual economic forum.
The Japanese government plans to make it a minimum condition for Abe-Kim talks that the Japanese side could be involved in the reinvestigation of the abduction victims. But the North has officially maintained its claim that the abduction issue has been settled, while the North Korean leader has shown an intention to hold talks with Japan.
Earlier reports said Kim made no reference to its position on the abduction issue during his talks with Trump and the issue was not included in a joint statement issued after Kim and Trump concluded their talks. (Yonhap)