Nov. 14 (UPI) -- Senior Japanese intelligence agents met with North Korea officials in Mongolia on Friday, according to a Japanese press report.
Fuji News Network reported Wednesday the meeting took place in the Mongolian capital of Ulaanbaatar. Shigeru Kitamura, the head of Japan's Cabinet Intelligence and Research Office under Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, headed the Japanese delegation.
According to the network, bilateral meetings with Pyongyang have been taking place secretly, and Kim Song Hye, head of North Korea's United Front Department in the Korean Workers' Party, likely represented the Kim Jong Un regime at the talks.
Kim Song Hye was noticeably absent from a group of North Korean delegates who are in the South this week to attend an international convention.
Japanese government sources who spoke to FNN said the meetings are being held to possibly negotiate the issue of abducted Japanese citizens.
Kitamura is in Washington this week to meet with U.S. officials following the talks, according to the report.
Yomiuri Shimbun reported Japan called for a summit between Abe and Kim Jong Un during the talks.
Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said Wednesday at a regular press briefing the government chooses to "refrain" from discussing the reports of the Mongolia meetings.
In October, Kitamura reportedly met with North Koreans in Ulaanbaatar, where he obtained new information about Minoru Tanaka, a Japanese citizen possibly abducted to North Korea in 1978.
Suga said Tokyo is addressing the issue of a summit with the North through "various channels."