According to the Daily NK, a Seoul-based online news outlet specializing in North Korean news, Pyongyang is trying to arrange talks in November between its leader, Kim Jong-un, and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
Quoting an unnamed North Korean official posted in China, the Daily NK reported that North Korea had been in contact with Japan on Kim’s orders in May in an effort to improve bilateral relations.
According to the report, a committee was established in May for the purpose of arranging the summit.
The report also stated that the committee, consisting of foreign affairs and security officials, had been looking into the issue of Japanese abductees and that committee members had been in contact with Japanese officials.
In addition to North Korea’s nuclear program, Tokyo-Pyongyang relations have been hampered by concerns over Japanese nationals abducted by the North. North Korea abducted a number of Japanese citizens in the late 1970s and the 1980s. It is accused of having kidnapped 17 Japanese citizens, only five of whom have been repatriated.
The Washington Post earlier reported that a meeting of Japanese and North Korean officials had taken place in July in Vietnam.
The paper reported that Shigeru Kitamura, head of Japan’s Cabinet Intelligence and Research Office, and Kim Song-hye, a senior North Korean official in charge of unification-related matters, had met to discuss bilateral issues and had withheld information about the meeting from the US.