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Japan working to arrange Abe-Kim talks: reports

AFP  |  Tokyo 

is working to arrange a meeting between and after the North Korean leader said he was open to talks, reported today.

said Kim discussed the possibility during historic talks Tuesday with US

"During the summit with Trump, Kim told Trump 'I can meet with Shinzo Abe'," the Sankei reported.

wants the talks to push the emotive issue of citizens abducted by the North decades ago, which has seen little movement despite a whirlwind of diplomacy in recent months.

Abe today repeated a pledge to push for dialogue with on the issue as he met families of abductees.

"I will face (North Korea) directly and work toward resolving the abduction issue," he told the families.

"has to take the initiative to resolve the issue," he said, adding that the summit would be "meaningless if it yields no progress on the abduction issue".

officials are weighing several scenarios, including Abe visiting in August, reported.

Another scenario would see Abe meet Kim on the sidelines of a conference in in September, the daily said.

Several Japanese said Kim had expressed a readiness to meet Abe when he held a summit with Trump. And Abe has already said publicly that he would be willing to meet Kim in order to resolve the abduction issue.

"If (Abe's) visit to in August proves difficult," he could hold talks with Kim on the sidelines of the Eastern Economic Forum in Russia's Vladivostok in September, the Yomiuri said.

Japanese media, including Jiji Press, said Japanese foreign ministry officials "contacted" their North Korean counterparts Thursday at an international security conference in

Top spokesman today said only that "nothing has been decided at the moment".

The issue of Japanese citizens who were abducted in the 1970s and 1980s to help Pyongyang train its spies has long soured already strained relations between and Pyongyang.

The Japanese has officially listed 17 people as abductees, but suspects dozens more were snatched.

Sakie Yokota, whose daughter was kidnapped at age 13, told reporters she was encouraged by Trump's talks with Kim and said she had urged Abe to resolve the issue quickly.

"This is the beginning of a beginning," added Shigeo Iizuka, whose sister was kidnapped four decades ago.

"I can only say 'I'm sorry' to my sister... But I want to tell her, 'Don't give up, hold out a bit more,'" he added.

Trump said Tuesday he discussed the abductee issue with Kim, but it was not mentioned in the document signed by the two leaders.

Japan has maintained a hardline position on North despite the stepped-up diplomacy with Pyongyang in recent months, and has been left largely on the sidelines as South Korea, and the have held talks with Kim.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Thu, June 14 2018. 17:05 IST
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