Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is considering visiting the United States for talks with U.S. President Donald Trump in early June before heading to Canada for a Group of Seven summit, government sources said Saturday.
Arrangements are under way for Abe to visit Washington June 6 and 7, the sources said, ahead of the G-7 leaders meeting June 8-9 in the Canadian city of Charlevoix.
In the meeting, Abe hopes to strengthen coordination with the United States in resolving the issue of Japanese nationals abducted by North Korea in the 1970s and 1980s, according to the sources.
Abe, who places priority on solving the abduction issue, apparently hopes to get a clearer picture of what Trump’s intensions are amid uncertainty about the holding of the June 12 U.S.-North Korean summit in Singapore.
On Thursday, Trump announced he was canceling the summit meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. But the following day, he said the two countries were holding “very productive” talks and the meeting could take place on June 12.
The Japanese government has already conveyed to the United States its desire to schedule a meeting, and is awaiting a response, the sources said.
A meeting between Abe and Trump could also be set up during the G-7 summit in Canada, but time constrains make that more difficult.
Abe, who last met with Trump in April in Florida, is tilting toward meeting with Trump in Washington ahead of the G-7 summit so the leaders have more time to coordinate a bilateral approach to North Korea.