Japan’s Shinzo Abe credits U.S., South Korea for efforts on abduction issue

June 10 (UPI) — Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe confirmed Wednesday that U.S. President Donald Trump and South Korea’s Moon Jae-in are cooperating on the North Korea “abduction issue.”

Abe, who is under renewed pressure to resolve the issue of missing Japanese citizens since the death of activist Shigeru Yokota, said at a meeting of the Budget Committee of Tokyo’s House of Representatives he is receiving support from various leaders on the matter, local newspaper Sankei Shimbun reported.

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“U.S. President Donald Trump, Chinese President Xi Jinping and President Moon Jae-in have been directly conveying my thoughts to North Korean Chairman Kim Jong Un regarding the abduction issue,” Abe said.

The Japanese prime minister apologized for not yet resolving the issue of kidnapped Japanese citizens. Abe also said Japan is enforcing sanctions against North Korea.

“I will act decisively without missing any opportunity,” Abe said.

Trump has previously expressed support for the families of abducted Japanese citizens. Abe’s mention of Moon’s efforts was a rare nod to the South Korean leader. The two politicians have been at odds over historical disputes, including Japanese compensation for Korean wartime laborers.

Abe’s remarks come a day after Tetsuya Yokota, brother of Megumi Yokota, who was taken to North Korea following her disappearance in 1977, said he hoped for “concrete results” following the death of his father Shigeru.

Abe also said at the Budget Committee meeting he wants Japan to lead the Group of Seven statement on the situation in Hong Kong.

On Wednesday, the Chinese foreign ministry responded swiftly to Abe’s remarks.

Foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said China expresses “serious concern” regarding Abe’s Hong Kong-related statements. The message has been conveyed to Tokyo, Hua said.

Hua also said no other country has the “right to interfere” in Hong Kong.

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