See More on Facebook

Analysis, Diplomacy

Abe, Trump summit sees stronger N Korea stance

US president Donald Trump has emerged from a two-day bilateral with Shinzo Abe with a stronger line on North Korea.


Written by

Updated: April 20, 2018

Abe’s government declared before the visit that he would push Donald Trump on the North Korea issue after both the US President and his South Korean counterpart Moon Jae-in had made diplomatic progress with Pyongyang in recent months – and threatened to leave Tokyo out of the loop.

Trump’s acceptance of summit talks with North Korea revealed a miscalculation by the Japanese government, which believed the current situation was at a stage for further pressuring North Korea.

According to the Yomiuri Shimbun, Abe himself told those around him that the U.S.-North Korea talks would be held “earlier than I thought.”

North Korean test missiles regularly fly over the Japanese homeland before crashing into the Pacific Ocean. Tokyo is within range of nuclear armed North Korean missiles and both North and South Korea harbor historic animosity against their former colonial master.

Therefore it was imperative that Japan, the United State’s 4th largest trading partner, push the issue with its longtime ally.

A stronger line

Upon his arrival Tuesday afternoon at Mar-a-Lago, Trump’s private estate, Abe held a one-on-one dialogue with Trump accompanied only by interpreters.

“I want to share an understanding on the abandonment of nuclear weapons and missiles by North Korea through complete, verifiable and irreversible means,” Abe stressed at the beginning of the talks

What emerged from the two day bilateral is a stronger line of rhetoric from the President Trump.

Both men confirmed that the two countries would maintain maximum pressure on North Korea, according to the Yomiuri Shimbun.

Trump also pledged to raise the issue of Japanese nationals abducted by North Korea at a summit meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un slated to be held by early June.

In his talk with the media Trump also revealed that the summit might not happen at all.

“If I think that it’s a meeting that is not going to be fruitful, we’re not going to go,” he said. “If the meeting when I’m there is not fruitful, I will respectfully leave the meeting.”

Seoul pushes ahead

While the US and Japan evaluate their positions, Moon Jae-in’s administration in Seoul has gone ahead in their diplomatic courting of Pyongyang.

A summit between Moon and Kim Jong-un is due to take place in the coming weeks with sources in South Korea revealing that a peace treaty between the two countries (who have technically been at war since the 1950s) may be in the works.

Boosted by the prospects for the April 27 inter-Korean summit and the subsequent US-North Korea summit, the two Koreas are seeking to use the meetings as an opportunity to declare an end to the Korean War and replace the armistice agreement with a peace treaty.

“It is one of the ways under consideration to change the security climate on the Korean Peninsula into a more peaceful one,” a senior Cheong Wa Dae official told reporters under the condition of anonymity.

The Moon Jae-in administration is considering putting such ideas into the joint statement to be issued following the summit with North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un, who expressed willingness to abandon its nuclear arsenal in return for security guarantees for the regime.

The Moon administration also added that North Korea is committed to “complete denuclearisation” and will not make unacceptable demands such as the withdrawal of United States troops stationed in South Korea – seemingly in response to the Abe-Trump bilateral outcomes.



Enjoyed this story? Share it.


Cod Satrusayang
About the Author: Cod Satrusayang is the Managing Editor at Asia News Network.

Eastern Briefings

All you need to know about Asia


Our Eastern Briefings Newsletter presents curated stories from 22 Asian newspapers from South, Southeast and Northeast Asia.

Sign up and stay updated with the latest news.



By providing us with your email address, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

View Today's Newsletter Here

Analysis, Diplomacy

Brexit deal refusal to have limited impact on Korean economy

Seoul vows to speed up efforts for Korea-Britain bilateral trade deal, bracing for post-Brexit era. The British parliament’s latest rejection of the government’s proposed Brexit deal is likely to have a limited impact on global financial markets as well as the South Korean economy, Seoul’s government said Wednesday. Vowing pre-emptive steps to counter a possible fallout, Korean authorities will work on preparations for a bilateral free trade deal with Britain, as the latter will no longer be subject to the Korea-EU Free Trade Agreement upon Brexit. “The vote to reject the Brexit deal was seen to have a limited impact on global financial ma


By The Korea Herald
January 17, 2019

Analysis, Diplomacy

Beijing rebukes French, German ambassadors

Beijing says award for Chinese lawyer is politically motivated. Beijing on Wednesday slammed the French and German ambassadors to China after they granted a human rights award to a detained Chinese lawyer, saying their wrongdoing gravely violated China’s internal affairs. The Foreign Ministry said in a statement that China has lodged stern representations and expressed strong dissatisfaction, as well as firm opposition, to the ambassadors’ action. The relevant case is purely judicial, which has nothing to do with human rights, the ministry said. The wrongdoings of Germany and France gravely interfered with China’s internal affairs and judicial sovereignty, the ministry said. China urges the ambassadors of relevant countries to do more to develop bilateral relations and enhance political mutual trust, not the opposite, it added. The lawyer, Yu Wensheng, was detained


By China Daily
January 17, 2019

Analysis, Diplomacy

Singapore-Malaysia relations still ‘good’, says Malaysian Foreign Minister

Ties between Malaysia and Singapore are still “good” despite ongoing air and maritime disputes between the two countries. “Our relations with Singapore remain good. There are some issues but we are talking to each other, and that is very important,” said Malaysian Foreign Minister Saifuddin Abdullah on Wednesday (Jan 16), “Most importantly, the discussions are going on. I am confident the discussions are moving in the right direction.” He said five senior government officials will meet with their Singaporean counterparts to discuss ongoing issues. Besides Mr Saifuddin, the others are Transport Minister Anthony Loke, Economic Affairs Minister Azmin Ali, Attorney-General Tommy Thomas and Foreign Ministry secretary-general Muhammad Shahrul Ikram Yaakob. Both Singapore and Malaysia are currently locked in two separate disputes – over 


By The Straits Times
January 17, 2019

Analysis, Diplomacy

Bangkok grapple with shortage of masks as smog smothers city

The Thai government is trying to resolve a dangerous air pollution problem in Bangkok, by seeding clouds to produce rain and using water cannons to clean streets and the air. After spending several days choking on high levels of fine particle dust, many Bangkok residents have opted for masks to protect themselves. But some were unable to find the N95-grade face masks required and are calling for the authorities to cover the shortage. Meanwhile, an online poll conducted by The Standard online magazine among 2,200 residents on Monday (Jan 14) and Tuesday revealed that 50.3 per cent wore masks to protect themselves, while the remainder complained they could not find one.


By The Nation (Thailand)
January 17, 2019

Analysis, Diplomacy

China accuses Canada of double standard

Beijing slams Justin Trudeau’s criticism of drug smuggler’s death sentence. China on Tuesday expressed strong dissatisfaction at the Canadian prime minister’s criticism of a drug smuggler’s death sentence, urging the country to respect China’s judicial sovereignty and stop making irresponsible remarks. Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told a daily news briefing that drug crimes are recognized worldwide as serious crimes and are extremely harmful to the society. She said all countries severely crack down on the issue and so does China. Remarks made by a “relevant Canadian person” lack the spirit of rule by law, she said, urging the Canadian side to correct the mistakes and stop making irresponsible remarks. Robert Lloyd Schellenberg, a Canadian national convicted of smuggling over 222 kilograms of methamphetamines, was sentenced to death on Monday at


By China Daily
January 16, 2019

Analysis, Diplomacy

South Korean defense paper doesn’t label north an enemy

Ministry also says the north has specialized battalion for assassination of key figures. The Defense Ministry does not directly refer to North Korea as an enemy and takes a less hostile tone toward the communist state in its 23rd white paper published Tuesday. The ministry’s latest biennial white paper — the first to be published since the Moon Jae-in administration came to power in 2017 — addresses security threats, military policies and the regional security environment. Perhaps most notably, the Defense Ministry eliminated the phrase specifically describing North Korea as South Korea’s “enemy,” a move that appears to reflect


By The Korea Herald
January 16, 2019