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Report: Kim Jong Un offered 'no comment' on Japan abduction issue

By
Elizabeth Shim
Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has said he is willing to meet with Kim Jong Un, but the North Korean leader has not offered any remarks on the issue of abducted Japanese citizens. File Photo by Keizo Mori/UPI
Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has said he is willing to meet with Kim Jong Un, but the North Korean leader has not offered any remarks on the issue of abducted Japanese citizens. File Photo by Keizo Mori/UPI | License Photo

Oct. 8 (UPI) -- Kim Jong Un provided no response to U.S. queries into the issue of Japanese abductees during his most recent meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, according to a Japanese press report.

The Asahi Shimbun reported Monday Pompeo was following up on a request from the Japanese government to raise the issue with Pyongyang.

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"Kim reportedly did not comment on the issue, when it was raised by Secretary of State Pompeo," the newspaper's Seoul-based correspondent reported.

It is a sign North Korea, for the time being, does not intend to pursue a summit with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe -- who most recently said at the United Nations General Assembly he would be willing to meet with Kim.

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The lack of North Korea interest in a summit with Abe was made clear in New York in September, when North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho had said there was "no rush" on a bilateral meeting of their leaders.

North Korean state media continued to attack Japanese actions, including a recent Japanese refusal to forgo the flying of the Rising Sun flag during joint exercises at South Korea's Jeju Island.

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Last week, Japan's navy decided to not take part in the drills.

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On Monday, North Korea's Rodong Sinmun said Japan had stirred up "massive criticism and grief" through unreasonable actions.

"The Rising Sun flag is a criminal banner that was used during brutal invasions of our country and other Asian nations, by the Japanese imperialists who cried out for the 'conquest of East Asia' in the 20th century," the Rodong stated.

In its most recent statement, the U.S. State Department did not mention whether Pompeo had raised the abduction issue with Kim.

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Pompeo spoke with Kim during a 5 1/2-hour meeting in Pyongyang on Sunday, where Kim's sister Kim Yo Jong was in attendance, Tongil News reported Monday.

Senior North Korea official Kim Yong Chol was absent at the meetings where Pompeo sat down with Kim, alongside CIA aide Andrew Kim.

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