Japanese and U.S. senior diplomats on Wednesday discussed North Korea after it launched projectiles over the weekend, agreeing to work together toward the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula along with South Korea.
During a meeting in Tokyo with Kenji Kanasugi, head of the Japanese Foreign Ministry's Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau, U.S. Special Representative for North Korea Stephen Biegun said the launches were a sign that Pyongyang is growing worried over a standstill in denuclearization talks with Washington, according to a ministry official.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's second summit with U.S. President Donald Trump in February ended in a break down in negotiations.
The meeting between the Japanese and U.S. diplomats came after North Korea on Saturday fired a series of projectiles off its eastern coast into the sea. Experts suspect the country was testing a new type of short-range ballistic missile banned under U.N. Security Council resolutions.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has expressed readiness to hold his own summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un "without conditions," in a shift from his previous stance that any summit should yield progress on the issue of Pyongyang's abduction of Japanese nationals in the 1970s and 1980s.
(Kenji Kanasugi (R) and Stephen Biegun)
Kanasugi agreed with Biegun that Japan and the United States will continue to cooperate toward an early settlement of the abduction issue, the ministry said.
Kanasugi is believed to have relayed Abe's views to Biegun, who is scheduled to make a two-day visit to South Korea from Thursday after leaving Tokyo.