Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida is making a determined push for a summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to resolve the long-standing abduction issue. This move is seen as a crucial step to salvage Kishida’s weakening leadership.
What Happened: Kishida is intensifying his efforts to arrange a meeting with Kim, the Financial Times reported on Tuesday. The proposed summit aims to secure the release of Japanese citizens abducted by North Korea many years ago.
The U.S., a key ally of Japan, has not been informed about the potential summit, highlighting the situation’s sensitivity. A successful summit could potentially boost Kishida’s approval rating, which has dipped below 30% due to a domestic political funding scandal.
Despite promising signs from Pyongyang, these efforts have yet to yield results due to Kim’s refusal to cooperate on the abduction issue. Kishida, however, remains resolute, emphasizing the importance of building top-level ties with North Korea.
Why It Matters: Kishida’s attempt to engage with North Korea comes amid escalating tensions on the Korean peninsula. Pyongyang recently abandoned its commitment to eventual reunification with South Korea, heightening concerns about its nuclear arsenal and military activities.
Earlier in November, Kishida’s plans for a dialogue with North Korea over the historical abductions of Japanese nationals were seen as a risky move that could jeopardize his political career. Despite the potential risks, Kishida is pressing on with his diplomatic efforts, emphasizing the situation’s urgency.
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