22:31 GMT +324 May 2018
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    Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe speaks at the plenary session of the 3rd Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok

    Japan Prime Minister Lauds North Korea Denuclearization Offer

    © Sputnik / Grigoriy Sisoev
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    TOKYO (Sputnik) - Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Friday hailed North Korea’s offer of talks on denuclearization but promised to keep up pressure until Pyongyang makes progress.

    "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."

    The Japanese prime minister plans to go to the United States in April, after Japan adopts a new fiscal budget, for talks with US President Donald Trump.

    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.

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    Tags:
    denuclearization, Shinzo Abe, Democratic Republic of North Korea (DPRK), Japan
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