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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

March 28, 2018 (AM)

 
If you can not view the video,click here(Japanese Government Internet TV)
This video's audio is a provisional translation through live simultaneous interpretation.

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]

Q&As
 
REPORTER: I have a question about the China-North Korea summit meeting. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China has just announced that a summit meeting between China and North Korea took place. Could you tell us of any details the Government of Japan is currently aware of?
 
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, according to press reports, Chairman Kim Jong-un visited China from March 25 to 28 with his spouse, Ms. Ri Sol-ju, and that he held a meeting with President Xi Jinping of China. The Government is currently collecting and analyzing information with great interest. We would like to receive a detailed briefing from China regarding this meeting. In any event, the concerted efforts of the international community to exert maximum pressure on North Korea have recently driven North Korea to seek dialogue. We will continue to cooperate closely with the United States and the Republic of Korea (ROK), while also working with China, Russia and other members of the international community, towards the comprehensive resolution of the nuclear, missile and abduction issues, and also consider our responses from the perspective of what would be the most effective means for this aim.
 
REPORTER: In the meeting of the Budget Committee of the House of Councillors today, the Prime Minister stated that he would like to receive a detailed briefing on this visit from China. Do you have any plans for a summit telephone talk or anything else?
 
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I would like to refrain from making comments on matters of diplomatic interactions. Suffice it to say that the Government is making efforts to collect and analyze information with the greatest interest, and we also would like to receive a detailed briefing from China.
 
REPORTER: What is the Government’s analysis of the objectives of North Korea in holding a summit meeting with China ahead of the inter-Korean and U.S.-North Korea summit meetings that are planned in the months ahead?
 
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, and as I have just noted, the maximum pressure campaign on North Korea under the close cooperation among Japan, the U.S., and the ROK, and in coordination with the international community including China, has recently driven North Korea to seek dialogue. Meanwhile, based on past experience, it is necessary to maintain a maximum level of pressure to ensure that North Korea commits to abandoning all nuclear and ballistic missile programs in a complete, verifiable, and irreversible manner and takes concrete steps in that direction. We will continue to take firm measures to that end, including at the forthcoming summit meeting in April that Prime Minister Abe is scheduled to hold with President Trump during his visit to the United States.
 
REPORTER: It is being reported that in the China-North Korea summit meeting, Chairman Kim indicated his readiness to move towards denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. Does the Government consider that these first steps towards rapprochement between China and North Korea will translate into progress on the nuclear and missile issues?
 
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Denuclearization is the ultimate objective of the Government of Japan. To date North Korea has stubbornly ignored the calls of the international community and has conducted nuclear tests and missile launches. The fact that North Korea has now sought dialogue in this way therefore demonstrates the effectiveness of the pressure being applied by the international community, including through Japan-U.S. and Japan-U.S.-ROK cooperation, as well as by China and Russia.
 
REPORTER: So will the Government be seeking the denuclearization of North Korea, rather than the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula as North Korea has been suggesting?
 
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: We have consistently maintained the same policy direction.
 
REPORTER: The inter-Korean and U.S.-North Korea summit meetings are scheduled to be held, following the recent China-North Korea summit meeting. Some members of the ruling parties have raised concerns that the abduction issue may be left behind. What efforts will the Government be making in order to resolve the abduction issue?
 
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, with respect to the abduction issue, President Trump met with the families of the abductees during his visit to Japan and stated publicly that he would work with Prime Minister Abe to resolve this issue last November. Moreover, on the occasions of the Japan-U.S. summit telephone talk on March 9 and Foreign Minister Kono’s recent visit to the United States, it has been confirmed that the abduction issue will be raised as an issue at the upcoming Japan-U.S. summit meeting, and that Japan and the United States will work together towards its resolution. The Government will continue to deal with this issue firmly through such diplomatic channels. Prime Minister Abe himself will also raise the subject directly to President Trump in the summit meeting planned for April.
 
REPORTER: I have a question about Prime Minister Abe’s visit to the United States. It has been reported that the Prime Minister is to visit from April 17 to 19 and meet with President Trump at the President’s estate in Palm Beach, Florida. What is the current status of arrangements with regard to the time and location of the summit meeting?
 
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The itineraries for Prime Minister Abe to visit the United States and meet with President Trump in April are currently being arranged. At present, nothing has been decided with regard to the dates and location for the forthcoming visit.
 
REPORTER: What items are likely to be discussed at the summit meeting?
 
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I would like to refrain from making comments based on conjecture, but I expect that areas of mutual concern, including policies on North Korea, will be discussed.
 
REPORTER: How will Japan approach the United States with respect to the import restrictions on steel and aluminum that it has recently imposed?
 
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: As I have just noted, at this point I would like to refrain from making comments based on conjecture on the items to be discussed at  the forthcoming summit meeting..
 
REPORTER: Returning to the China-North Korea summit meeting, China and Russia have shown their interest in engaging in discussions among six countries. What is the stance of the Government on this matter?
 
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The Government seeks to respond in a manner that will be most effective in achieving denuclearization.
 
REPORTER: The China-North Korea summit meeting has demonstrated the important role that China plays. Given this fact, does the Government intend to emphasize strongly to China the importance of the resolution of the abduction issue, and to seek its understanding and cooperation?
 
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The abduction issue is a top priority for our country and for the Abe administration. That is why we have made requests to President Trump for assistance on multiple occasions of summit meetings. With respect to China, we have also used various opportunities to make similar requests for cooperation. The Government will continue to make every effort to call on other countries for assistance in order to resolve the abduction issue without any further delay.

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