Abe to meet Trump before US, N Korea summit

Tokyo, June 6: Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Wednesday left to meet US President Donald Trump to coordinate their positions ahead of a historic mid-June summit between the US and North Korea in Singapore. Abe will meet Trump at the White House on Thursday, the second meeting between the two leaders in less than two months, and then travel to Quebec in Canada to attend the G7 summit (June 8-9), the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs said, Efe news agency reported.

Abe has been sceptical of Trump’s summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and favours maintaining maximum pressure on Pyongyang, while Trump, the main architect of the maximum pressure strategy, has softened his stance on North Korea ahead of the summit on June 12. During the meeting, Abe hopes Trump would reaffirm his willingness to maintain sanctions on Pyongyang until it takes concrete steps towards verifiable, complete and irreversible denuclearisation, according to official sources. Speaking to the media before his departure, Abe, who is trying to assume a greater role in the rapprochement process with North Korea, launched by South Korean President Moon Jae-in, said he maintains close communication with Trump and that their positions on the denuclearisation of North Korea were the same. (IANS)