Japan asks S. Korea to raise abduction issue at North-South summit

Japan asks S. Korea to raise abduction issue at North-South summit

Japan asks S. Korea to raise abduction issue at North-South summit

Kang was said to have replied that the "South Korean government has worked at and will continue to work toward humanitarian issues" such as the abduction issue, as well as that of reunions for families torn apart during the 1950-53 Korean War. "Kono expressed Japan's stance on "comfort women" and Dokdo, and Kang explained our stance over "comfort women" and made clear that the South can not accept any argument by Japan over Dokdo", the ministry said in a statement.

In Pyongyang's first mention of official dialogue with the U.S. and the summit with Seoul, the North's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) added that Kim set "strategic and tactical issues" to be upheld by the Workers' Party.

Kono arrived in South Korea late on Tuesday, on his first visit to the country since taking the post in August a year ago.

Kono too expressed hope for improve ties between the two countries, saying he also carried a special message from Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe for the South Korean president, which was not disclosed.

USA officials confirmed on Sunday that North Korea directly told the White House that Kim would be interested in talks and was prepared to discuss denuclearization at a summit with Trump.

South Korea and Japan have also locked horns over Seoul-controlled islets in the sea between the two countries called Dokdo in the South and Takeshima in Japan. North Korea acknowledged in 2002 that it had abducted 13 Japanese.

Christopher Hill, who negotiated with the North as head of the US delegation during the George W. Bush administration, said close coordination and cooperation between Seoul and Washington are critical when discussing security issues in particular.

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Hong said that while some media say "spring (pronounced "bom" in Korean) has come to the South and North", others see it as a literal 'bomb'.

Both North Korean and foreign artists take part, and this year's week-long event includes concerts, dance performances and acrobatics.

During his two-day trip to Seoul, which kicked off Tuesday, Kono paid a visit to Seoul National Cemetery and met with Suh Hoon, director of Korea's National Intelligence Service (NIS).

The Moon-Kim summit, if held, will mark the third inter-Korean summit.

"Bolton does not even mention the possibility of a peace treaty with Pyongyang" which is sought by the South, said Professor Koo Kab Woo at the University of North Korean Studies in Seoul.

In a growing rapprochement on the Korean peninsula kick-started by the South's Winter Olympics, Kim is set to meet the South's Moon Jae-in on April 27.

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