North Korea said this Monday that it had received a proposal from Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida to hold a summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

According to Pyongyang’s state news agency KCNA, the leader’s sister, Kim Yo-jong, said Kishida used a diplomatic channel to say he would like to meet Kim Jong-un in person “as soon as possible.”

Kim Yo-jong said that improving bilateral ties depends on Japan and accused Tokyo of “trying to interfere in the exercise of sovereign rights”, in an apparent reference to weapons tests carried out by North Korea. “As long as Japan is hostile (…), we will consider it as an enemy among our targets, not as a friend”, stressed the sister of the North Korean leader.

“If Japan (…) continues to be preoccupied with the issue of abductions, of which there is nothing left to resolve or investigate, then the [oferta] of the prime minister will inevitably be labeled as just an attempt to improve his popularity,” Kim added.

Shortly afterwards, Fumio Kishida said, when questioned about Pyongyang’s announcement during a parliamentary debate, that he has been working “to dialogue with North Korea“. The Japanese Prime Minister added that it was important to open talks with Pyongyang to “resolve disputes such as the kidnappings” of Japanese citizens by North Korean agents in the 1970s and 1980s.


In 2002, at a summit between leader Kim Jong-il, Kim Jong-un’s father, and then Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, North Korea admitted to having abducted 13 Japanese people, mainly to train spies in the Japanese language and culture. .

Pyongyang allowed five of them to return to Japan, but said the others had already died. The Tokyo government said it believes North Korea abducted hundreds of Japanese people and some may still be alive. In February, Kim Yo-jong had made a similar statement, saying that North Korea was open to improving relations with Japan and even inviting Kishida to visit Pyongyang.

Kidnapped. The mystery of the foreigners that North Korea made disappear

Japan, which occupied the Korean peninsula from 1910 until its defeat at the end of World War II in 1945, has never had formal diplomatic relations with North Korea, established in 1948.


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