Reports: Japan pledges $2.8M for Korea nuke inspectors

By Jennie Oh  |  Updated March 11, 2018 at 3:21 PM
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SEOUL, March 10 (UPI) -- Tokyo has pledged $2.8 million in the event that North Korea agrees to inspections from the International Atomic Energy Agency.

Japanese media on Sunday cited Tokyo officials who said the government would make a contribution to support costs for an inspection, in response to North Korea's willingness to dismantle its nuclear program.

IAEA inspection are seen as a significant first step towards denuclearization. Inspectors monitoring North Korea's nuclear facilities were expelled in April 2009, after the Six Party Talks collapsed.

Kyodo News says Tokyo plans to cover most of the initial costs of 350 million to 300 million yen thought to be needed by the nuclear watchdog to finance inspections of the North's Yongbyon nuclear complex.

It is also considering paying more if the costs go up.

The move comes amid talks that there has been 'a Japan passing,' or a feeling that Japan has been ignored, in the stages of pursuing summits between South and North Korea as well as North Korea and the United States.

For Japan, the move "offers a way to remain in the loop on the international response to North Korea following the announcement that the United States and South Korea both plan to hold summit talks with the North," Kyodo News said.

Building on the feel-good atmosphere created between the two Koreas during the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, leaders Moon Jae-in and Kim Jong Un are set to hold a meeting in late-April.

A summit between the U.S. and North is also expected to take place in May, after Trump accepted Kim's invitation for talks on denuclearization last Thursday.

North Korea also said it would freeze its nuclear and missile testing during the talks.

Trump, on Saturday, expressed optimism regarding Pyongyang agreeing to a moratorium, tweeting that the North did not conduct a missile test since its Hwasong-15 intercontinental ballistic missile test launch on Nov. 29, local time.

The U.S. leader also commented on Japan's eagerness to discuss North Korea-related issue, saying he had spoken to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe who is "very enthusiastic about talks with North Korea."

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