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Moon vows to cooperate on abduction issue

Reuters

Foreign Minister Taro Kono, left, talks with South Korean President Moon Jae In during their meeting at the presidential house in Seoul on Wednesday.

Jiji Press SEOUL (Jiji Press) — South Korean President Moon Jae In said Wednesday that his country will continue to cooperate with Japan on issues between Japan and North Korea, including Pyongyang’s abductions of Japanese nationals.

Moon made the remark to visiting Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono after the minister asked the president to take up the abduction issue at a summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on April 27.

During their 30-minute meeting, Moon and Kono also agreed to keep maximum pressure on North Korea, in order to make the North abandon its nuclear and missile programs in a complete, verifiable and irreversible way.

Seoul and Tokyo should continue working together so that Japan and North Korea can resolve their pending issues and improve their relations, Moon said.

It is becoming even more important for South Korea and Japan to cooperate for the success of the inter-Korean summit and an expected meeting between Kim and U.S. President Donald Trump, he also said.

But he did not say clearly that he will take up the abduction issue during the upcoming summit.

Moon expressed hope that Japan will play a constructive role in achieving peace and denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

Kono said, “We’ll work hard to realize the denuclearization by deepening the cooperation between Japan and South Korea and among Japan, South Korea and the United States.”

He also conveyed a message from Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on North Korean and other issues.

Kono and Moon also agreed on the need to make additional efforts for the success of the planned summit among Japan, South Korea and China set for May in Tokyo.

Earlier on the day, Kono had talks with his South Korean counterpart, Kang Kyung-wha, for about one hour.

The foreign ministers discussed the December 2015 bilateral accord to “finally and irreversibly” resolve the issue of Korean comfort women.

Kono underscored the importance of steadily implementing the comfort women accord, while Kang explained that her country hopes Japan will take voluntary additional measures over the issue.

He protested against a plan by a group of South Korean lawmakers to land on the Sea of Japan islets called Takeshima in Japan and Dokdo in South Korea, and demanded that the plan be withdrawn.

He also expressed discomfort with a move by a South Korean labor group to put up a statue in front of the Japanese consulate-general in Busan to remember requistioned Korean workers during the war.

Kono, who took office last November, is the first Japanese foreign minister to visit South Korea since December 2015.

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