Press Conferences

Press Conference by Foreign Minister Taro Kono

Friday, June 15, 2018, 9:22 a.m. Front Entrance Hall, Prime Minister’s Office

This is a provisional translation by an external company for reference purpose only.

Contact with North Korean Officials in Mongolia

Reporter: Yesterday, Deputy Director-General Shimizu of the Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau had contact with North Korean officials in Mongolia. Did Japan make any specific approaches to arranging a Japan-North Korea Summit Meeting?

Mr. Taro Kono, Minister for Foreign Affairs: Japan and North Korea were participating in the same meeting and the participants had contact with one another at the meeting venue. The Japanese participants conveyed Japan’s position to the North Korean participants.

Reporter: Was there any specific response from the North Korean side?

Minister Kono: I would like to refrain from going into details.

Japan-U.S.-ROK Foreign Ministers’ Meeting and U.S.-China Foreign Ministers’ Meeting

Reporter: Yesterday, Secretary of State Pompeo and Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha held a meeting. Afterwards Secretary Pompeo travelled to China, where he met with Foreign Minister Wang Yi. First of all, how did you view the yesterday’ U.S.-China Foreign Ministers’ Meeting? Secondly, could you please explain again what kind of involvement by China is being sought in relation to maintaining pressure on North Korea and the denuclearization process?

Minister Kono: We are implementing economic sanctions based on the relevant United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions. At this point in time, no country will individually relax economic sanctions against North Korea. China is also a signatory to the Korean Armistice Agreement so if such discussions arise, I expect China to be involved. More broadly than the Korean War, China, like Japan, is a regional stakeholder in the peace and stability of Northeast Asia.

Reporter: Regarding the denuclearization process, during his press conference yesterday, Foreign Minister Wang Yi once again made statements that hinted at China seeking gradual measures. I believe this approach differs from Japan’s position. How will you approach or persuade China on this point?

Minister Kono: As I have just explained, the international community is implementing economic sanctions based on the relevant UNSC resolutions. No country can individually relax these sanctions. I understand there is absolutely no change in this situation.

Japan-North Korea Summit Meeting

Reporter: I have a question about a Japan-North Korea Summit Meeting. Yesterday, you said that we are now in a different phase. Have you received any instructions from the Prime Minister regarding making arrangements for realizing a Japan-North Korea Summit Meeting?

Minister Kono: Firstly, the President Trump raised various issues. Furthermore, Japan has engaged in various dialogues with North Korea, through a variety of channels, seeking to comprehensively resolve the nuclear, missile and abductions issue and normalize relations, based on our existing basic policy. We will firmly maintain these efforts.

Reporter: Was the contact in Ulaanbaatar part of advance preparations or consultations towards holding a Japan-North Korea Summit Meeting?

Minister Kono: That was not the case. They were at the same venue as participants in the same meeting. I think when they exchanged greetings they had a brief conversation.

Reporter: In Singapore, not you personally but did anyone from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs have any contact with the North Korean side?

Minister Kono: I do not think so.

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