Putin welcomes Trump's decision to meet with Kim

Abe heads to US amid surge of diplomacy

Published: June 07, 2018 22:04:33

Vladimir Putin

Russian President Vladimir Putin expressed hope that the June 12 meeting between Trump and Kim Jong-un would produce positive results, reports Agencies.

US President Donald Trump made a courageous and mature decision to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, the Russian President said in an interview with the China Media Group ahead of his visit to China.

"I do hope that the courageous and mature decision to hold a personal meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un that US President Trump made… that the meeting will take place, we all will be waiting for it to produce positive results," the Russian president said.

At the same time, Putin pointed to actions taken by the North Korean leadership. "We can see that the North Korean leadership has taken unprecedented steps to ease tensions, which frankly speaking, surprised me," he said.

In Putin's view, under the current situation, North Korea needs security guarantees.

Meanwhile, Japan's PM Shinzo Abe is set to hold a last-minute meeting with Donald Trump, days before the US president meets North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

Mr Abe's visit is part of a surge of diplomacy ahead of the unprecedented summit on 12 June in Singapore.

Few details of the agenda for the Trump-Kim meeting have been confirmed.

When he meets Mr Trump in Washington on Thursday, Mr Abe is expected to push for Japan's security concerns to be reflected.

Also on Thursday, Singapore's Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan headed to Pyongyang to meet his counterpart Ri Yong-ho. Mr Abe has held regular meetings with Mr Trump since the US president took office.

Once it was announced that Mr Trump intended to meet the North Korean leader - a break with decades of US policy - Mr Abe has been eager to brief him on Japan's concerns.

There are worries in Tokyo that Mr Trump might strike a deal with North Korea that would sideline Japanese interests.

Before departing for the US, Mr Abe said he would "meet President Trump to co-ordinate in order to advance progress on the nuclear issue, missiles and - most importantly - the abductees issue".

Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, North Korea abducted a number of Japanese citizens to help train its spies in Japanese language and customs.

Earlier, a top UN rights expert called Thursday for North Korea to begin freeing prisoners under a "general amnesty" ahead of next week's historic nuclear summit.

Tomas Ojea Quintana, the UN's special rapporteur on human rights in North Korea, called on Pyongyang to "issue a general amnesty to release hundreds of prisoners".

He hailed North Korea's recent release of three US prisoners, and urged the country to broaden its "amnesty" to anyone being arbitrarily detained there, which he said was basically all prisoners.

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