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FM Kono hints at N. Korea nuclear activity amid easing tensions

FM Kono hints at N. Korea nuclear activity amid easing tensions

The White House said on Monday that Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was to visit the United States on April 17-18 on issues including the Korean Peninsula and trade. He said the trade deficit between the countries must be corrected, and Japan has not been exempted from Trump's list of countries whose steel and aluminum imports will be subject to tariffs.

"President Trump and Prime Minister Abe will explore ways to expand fair and reciprocal trade and investment ties between the United States and Japan, two of the world's wealthiest and most innovative economies". It added that an unidentified U.S. government official indicated that the dynamics of the Japan-U.S. relationship had changed, and that the era of managing bilateral relations based exclusively on the personal relationship between the two leaders is over. Japan says 17 people were abducted.

North Korea appears to be "working hard to get ready for the next nuclear test", Kono said in a lecture in Kochi city, referring to soil removal from the tunnel at the nuclear test site where past tests were conducted.

Meanwhile, India is set to organise a trilateral dialogue with delegates from the US and Japan in New Delhi ahead of the Trump-Abe meeting, the US State Department said. While the date for that meeting has not been finalized, the White House had previously said it would occur before the end of May.

While Chinese President Xi Jinping invited Kim to Beijing for a confidence-building meeting, North and South Korea are also in talks towards a summit to be held at a border town on April 27.

During the meeting, the Japanese leader and the president will likely discuss the new tariffs on China announced by Trump last month, which were created to end what he views as unfair trade practices.


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