Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Monday he plans to visit the USA this month to discuss North Korea with President Donald Trump ahead of expected summits between the North and the us and South Korea.
The Trump-Abe summit is set to take place on April 17-18 and will be the third such meeting between the two leaders.
The prime minister said he will directly request Trump to bring up the issue of Japanese abductees in North Korea when the USA president meets North Korean leader Kim Jong-un for a summit in May.
During the meeting, the Japanese leader and the president will likely discuss the new tariffs on China announced by Trump last month, which were created to end what he views as unfair trade practices.
Tension on the Korean Peninsula has thawed in recent months with Seoul and Pyongyang agreeing to hold a summit on April 27, the first meeting between the leaders of the two sides in 11 years.
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If Trump raises the issue of a free trade agreement between Japan and the United States, Abe might be pressured to make concessions, Japanese newspaper Asahi Shimbun reported.
The US state department Monday said that Alice Wells, the US diplomat for South Asia, and Susan Thornton, the state department official in-charge of the East Asia and Pacific affairs, will lead the delegation traveling to India.
"I hope to thoroughly discuss North Korea and other issues of mutual interest between Japan and the U.S.", Abe said at a meeting of representatives of his ruling coalition and the government.
Abe said he will bring up the issue of North Korea abducting people from Japanese coastal areas between 1977 and 1983. North Korea, after years of denials, acknowledged in 2002 abducting 13 Japanese.