The Latest: Moon, Abe discuss N. Korea’s denuclearization
TOKYO (AP) — The Latest on the Japan-China-South Korea trilateral summit (all times local):
South Korean President Moon Jae-in says that North Korea supports denuclearization in principle, but the actual steps to achieve it will be difficult.
Moon met Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Wednesday shortly after a three-way meeting in Tokyo with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang.
A Japanese official says Moon and Abe agreed to work together to figure out the necessary steps for North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons.
They welcomed North Korea’s recent announcement that it would close a nuclear test site and agreed that it must lead to further efforts to achieve full denuclearization.
Moon received a small surprise as he was wrapping up his working lunch with Abe: a cake to mark his first anniversary since taking office in May last year.
China, Japan and South Korea have agreed to work together to get North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons and on a three-way and regional free trade agreements.
The agreements came Wednesday at a meeting in Tokyo with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and South Korean President Moon Jae-in.
It was the first such trilateral summit since November 2015.
Abe reiterated Japan’s position that it would normalize ties with North Korea only if the latter took concrete steps toward abandoning its nuclear and missile programs and resolved the issue of Japanese abducted by North Korean agents.
A Japanese official said the leaders agreed to work toward both a free trade pact among themselves and the proposed Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership with Southeast Asian nations.
China, South Korea and Japan have begun their first trilateral summit in more than two years.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe opened the summit Wednesday in Tokyo with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and South Korean President Moon Jae-in.
They are expected to take up the recent flurry of developments on the Korean peninsula. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un met Moon on April 27 and Chinese President Xi Jinping earlier this week.
Abe said he hopes North Korea will give up its nuclear weapons in a complete and irreversible way.
Li said China is willing to work with Japan and South Korea to maintain regional stability.
The three-way summit is supposed to happen annually, but hasn’t been held since November 2015 because of tense relations between Japan and China.
South Korean President Moon Jae-in has arrived in Japan for a summit with Japan and China that is expected to focus on North Korea’s nuclear program and on improving the sometimes-frayed ties among the three northeast Asian neighbors.
Wednesday’s summit is the seventh since the three-way meetings started in 2008 but only the first since 2015.
Japanese officials say the meeting comes at a crucial time, sandwiched between an inter-Korean summit and planned talks between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.2
Moon is expected to brief Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang about his recent summit with Kim.
Japanese officials say they hope the talks will also promote regional trade.