| U.S. State Secretary John Kerry has warned against Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe`s possible visit to North Korea regarding Pyongyang-Tokyo negotiations over the North`s past abductions of Japanese citizens.
Japanese media reported Wednesday that in a telephone conversation with Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida on July 7, Kerry urged Abe from visiting North Korea, warning that such a trip could disturb trilateral coordination involving Tokyo, Washington and Seoul.
Should Abe visit the North, Kerry urged Japan to hold sufficient consultations with Washington in advance, rather than informing it just before embarking on such a trip. Kerry was quoted as saying that it would not be good to see Japan move forward alone from trilateral effort, as Washington and Tokyo are allies. The top U.S. diplomat also asked if Tokyo was willing to lift additional sanctions on North Korea, asking Japan to take a careful attitude toward lifting any more.
The telephone conversation came after Kishida told a June 3 session of the Upper House Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee that a visit by Abe may be one way to produce results regarding the abduction issue. Japanese media quoted Kishida as telling Kerry that the media had carried various reports on his remarks in the Diet and that Tokyo is not considering Abe`s visit to Pyongyang at all. He also reportedly said Japan is not considering lifting any more sanctions.