Abe, Li, Moon join hands toward denuclearization

Pool photo/Reuters

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, center, poses for a photo with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, left, and South Korean President Moon Jae In prior to their summit in Tokyo on Wednesday.

The Yomiuri ShimbunLeaders of Japan, China and South Korea confirmed in a trilateral summit held at the State Guest House in Tokyo on Wednesday they would work together for the denuclearization of North Korea.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and South Korean President Moon Jae In agreed to support the Panmunjom Declaration, which stipulates the “complete denuclearization” of the Korean Peninsula, signed between Moon and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un during the inter-Korean summit late last month.

Abe also sought cooperation to resolve the issue of Japanese nationals abducted by North Korea, and obtained understanding from Li and Moon.

According to the Japanese government, the three leaders confirmed they will join hands toward the dismantlement of all weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear weapons, and ballistic missiles in a complete, verifiable and irreversible manner based on U.N. Security Council resolutions.

At the beginning of the meeting, Abe said emphatically, “We need to strongly urge North Korea to take concrete action toward denuclearization.”

Abe also referred to Kim’s visit to Dalian, China, on Monday and Tuesday, where the Korean leader held talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

In light of a first-ever U.S.-North Korea summit — expected to be held by early June between U.S. President Donald Trump and Kim — Moon said: “This [three-way meeting] is very important in terms of timing. Closer trilateral cooperation really will help establish peace and prosperity, extending beyond the Korean Peninsula, in Northeast Asia.”

The three leaders held a joint press conference after the meeting.

Abe expressed Japan’s stance anew by saying, “If North Korea comprehensively solves a series of issues, including abductions, nuclear and missiles, and follows the right path, [Japan] will settle the unfortunate past and aim to normalize diplomatic relations based on the Japan-North Korea Pyongyang Declaration.”

Expressing a sense of expectation for a Japan-North Korea summit, Li said, “We want to pin hope on the upcoming U.S.-North Korea summit, as well as on dialogue and a meeting between Japan and North Korea.”

The three leaders also made arrangements for the promotion of free trade, including accelerated negotiations on a free trade agreement between Japan, China and South Korea, as well as for a Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership in East Asia.

The content of the trilateral agreement was likely to be announced as a joint declaration. The three leaders also were expected to come out with a special statement that includes support for the Panmunjom Declaration and expresses hope for progress toward denuclearization in the upcoming talks between Trump and Kim.

The trilateral summit was the first in about 2½ years. The previous one was held in Seoul in November 2015.

Also at the table for Wednesday’s meeting were Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Taro Aso, Foreign Minister Taro Kono, Chinese State Councillor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi and South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung Wha, among others.Speech

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