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Japan PM hails Trump-Kim agreement as ‘first step’

TOKYO: Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe yesterday welcomed a document signed by North Korea's leader at an unprecedented summit with US President Donald Trump as a "first step" towards denuclearisation.

Speaking briefly hours after Mr Kim Jong Un and the US president met in Singapore, Mr Abe also said he was pleased that Mr Trump had raised the emotive issue of Japanese abducted by Pyongyang.

"Through this US-North Korea summit, Chairman Kim Jong Un's intent for complete denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula was confirmed in writing," Mr Abe told reporters. "I support this as a first step to the comprehensive resolution of issues concerning North Korea."

Mr Kim and Mr Trump signed a document after their talks in which the North Korean leader reaffirmed his commitment to "work toward complete denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula", without giving further details.

It made no reference to other weapons capabilities, including the missiles that North Korea has fired over Japan.

REPATRIATION

The document also refers to the repatriation of the remains of prisoners of war and people killed during fighting, but makes no specific reference to people abducted by North Korea.

Japan has repeatedly called for the issue to be raised in discussions with Pyongyang, and Mr Trump said at a press conference yesterday afternoon that he had discussed the issue with Mr Kim.

"I highly appreciate the fact that President Trump firmly touched upon what I told him recently about the abduction issue which is very important to us, to Japan," Mr Abe said.

"I want to hear the details by phone (from Mr Trump). I will continue aiming to resolve concerns such as the abduction, nuclear and missile issues," he added.

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

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