The Japanese government is making arrangements for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to meet with U.S. President Donald Trump ahead of a landmark U.S.-North Korea summit in Singapore on June 12, government sources said Friday.
As leaders from the Group of Seven industrialized nations are scheduled to gather in Canada on June 8 and 9, Abe hopes to hold talks with Trump on the fringes of the summit and coordinate efforts toward resolving issues related to Pyongyang, the sources said.
Abe is expected to ask Trump to push North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to address the long-standing issue of Japanese nationals abducted by North Korean agents in the 1970s and 1980s, the sources said.
The prime minister also hopes to reaffirm the need to press Pyongyang to abandon its weapons of mass destruction, including biological and chemical weapons, and missiles of all ranges.
Abe has placed priority on resolving the abduction issue. Following the return to the United States of three U.S. citizens detained by Pyongyang, Abe said the Trump-Kim summit will lead to progress on the Japanese abduction issue.
(Abe, right, and families of Japanese nationals abducted by North Korea)
"It would be better (for the two leaders) to meet, and they will likely do so," a Japanese government source said.
Asked about the possibility of a Japan-U.S. summit, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga, the top government spokesman, told a press conference Friday that Japan aims to convey its stance and throw its support behind the United States.
Speculation has emerged that Trump may visit Japan to brief Abe about the outcome of his meeting with Kim in Singapore.
Trump said Thursday he plans to meet with Kim on June 12 in Singapore in what will be the first ever summit between a sitting U.S. president and a North Korean leader.
Recent weeks have seen a flurry of diplomatic activity since the historic April 27 inter-Korean summit, when South Korean President Moon Jae In and North Korean leader Kim agreed to pursue complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
Japan, China and South Korea agreed in a trilateral leaders' summit on Wednesday in Tokyo that they will work toward the peninsula's denuclearization in a rare show of unity.
The G-7 groups Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States.