North Korea has formed a team to negotiate with Japan as Tokyo proposed direct talks with Pyongyang in an attempt to manage a variety of issues, Japanese media reported. According to Japan Times, the negotiating team was apparently established sometime between April and the historic US-North Korea summit on June 12th. Earlier this year, Pyongyang asserted that restoring ties with Tokyo could become a future priority once it had moved to improve ties with Washington, Seoul and Beijing.
At a plenary meeting in April of the central committee of North Korea’s ruling party the policy of pursuing active dialogue with neighbouring countries was adopted, the source added. Japan has long asked for answers regarding the abduction of Japanese citizens by North Korea in the 1970s and 1980s. Tokyo lists 17 citizens as abduction victims and suspects Pyongyang’s involvement in many more disappearances. Despite tensions easing in the Korean peninsula, public opinion in Japan is eager to know whether the ongoing talks between Pyongyang and Washington could achieve real peace in the region.
In the latest gesture of goodwill, North Korea transferred the remains of American soldiers killed in the Korean War (1950-1953) to the US. US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un agreed in their Singapore summit on June 12th to denuclearise the Korean peninsula. However, the traditional foes are still negotiating how the agreement can be carried out.