Analysts: Shinzo Abe a shape-shifter on North Korea in Trump era

June 6, 2019 | United Press International

NEW YORK, June 5 (UPI) -- Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe could be trying to please U.S. President Donald Trump with offers to meet with Kim Jong Un without preconditions, as he watches and learns from Trump's example, analysts tell UPI.

Abe, who recently hosted Trump in Tokyo in a summit of pageantry, sumo wrestling and golf, had publicly expressed his desire to meet with Kim unconditionally in May, ahead of the U.S.-Japan summit.

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Yuki Tatsumi, director of the Japan Program at the Stimson Center in Washington, told UPI it's unlikely Abe and Kim would meet in the near future, although Abe's prospects have improved following the collapse of U.S.-North Korea talks in Vietnam.

"Things are now changing a little, with U.S.-North Korea bilateral negotiations at a stalemate," Tatsumi said, adding inter-Korea dialogue has also "significantly slowed" despite Seoul's best efforts.

"Now Kim Jong Un may have little more incentive than he had before the Hanoi summit in February to meet with Abe. Japan may be somehow able to help Kim Jong Un break the stalemate with the United States."

 

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