Japan, US, S. Korean delegations in Singapore in contact before summit

13-Jun-2018 Intellasia | | 6:02 AM Print This Post

A Japanese delegation in Singapore kept in close contact with US and South Korean counterparts Monday, with Japan hoping to keep abreast of developments related to a high-stakes summit the next day between the leaders of the United States and North Korea.

Following meetings with officials from Washington and Seoul since the weekend, Kenji Kanasugi, director general of the Foreign Ministry’s Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau who heads the Japanese liaison team, said Japan’s efforts to coordinate with both South Korea and the United States are going well.

In a flurry of diplomatic activity prior to the historic meeting between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, Kanasugi had dinner with his South Korean counterpart Lee Do Hoon.

“While my counterpart and I shared our thoughts, we (agreed) to keep tabs on tomorrow,” Kanasugi told reporters late Monday at a hotel in the city-state, which will host the first-ever summit between a sitting US president and a North Korean leader.

Since arriving in Singapore on Sunday, Kanasugi, who is also the Japanese envoy on North Korean nuclear issues, has engaged in dialogue with US delegates.

While not a participant in Tuesday’s meeting, Japan is closely watching how it will pan out in terms of reaching an agreement on how to proceed with North Korea’s denuclearisation. The outcome of the talks is bound to affect Japan’s security and diplomacy, its officials and experts say.

The officials Kanasugi has chatted with include Randall Schriver, assistant secretary of defense for Asian and Pacific Security Affairs of the US Department of Defense, and Matt Pottinger, senior director for Asia at the National Security Council.

The meetings centered on the Shangri-La Hotel, where the Japanese delegation as well as Trump are staying.

One of the delegation sources said Shotaro Yachi, Japan’s national security adviser who is also part of the delegation, will meet his US counterpart John Bolton.

South Korea has sent its own delegation to closely watch the summit that will shape the security landscape of the Korean Peninsula.

The two Koreas remain technically at war as the 1950-1953 Korean War ended in a cease-fire, not a peace treaty.

Japan, for its part, hopes to build on the recent momentum surrounding North Korea for Pyongyang to get rid of not only its intercontinental ballistic missiles that could reach mainland US targets but shorter-range missiles capable of hitting Japan.



Category: Japan

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