"We highly appreciate changes in North Korea, which has offered to begin negotiations aimed at denuclearization," Abe said, adding this was the result of US, Japanese and South Korean teamwork.
Abe stressed that pressure on the North should remain "until North Korea takes concrete actions toward abandoning its nuclear and missile programs in a verifiable and irreversible manner."
Abe and Trump spoke by phone for more than an hour on Friday morning, according to a Japanese Foreign Ministry statement. They agreed to keep maximum pressure on North Korea and said it made no sense to have a dialogue with Pyongyang until it proved it was ready to give up nuclear weapons for good.
South Korean national security adviser Chung Eui-Yong, who briefed Trump on Thursday, said the US president had agreed to meet with North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un by May to discuss permanent denuclearization. Kim is also believed to have agreed to halt nuclear tests.