Japanese PM Urges North Korea to Commit to Denuclearization
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is calling on North Korea to match its recent rhetoric about giving up its nuclear weapons program with "concrete actions."
Abe made the call Tuesday during a meeting in Tokyo with Suh Hoon, the head of South Korea's National Intelligence Service. Suh Hoon and Chung Eui-yong, the head of Seoul's National Security Office, led a delegation from South Korea to the North last week for talks with leader Kim Jong Un.
The Japanese prime minister also made clear that he wants to resolve the issue of North Korea's abduction of several Japanese citizens in the 1970s and 80s to train North Korea spies.
South Korean President Moon Jae-in and U.S. President Donald Trump have agreed to hold separate bilateral summits with Kim Jong Un to discuss ending his regime's nuclear weapons program, after he pledged to suspend the North's missile testing program. President Moon will meet with Kim in April, while President Trump will meet with the North Korean leader by the end of May.
US Defense Chief Arrives in Afghanistan on Surprise Visit
U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis says small factions of Taliban forces fighting the U.S.-backed Afghan government forces have expressed an interest in negotiating an end to the 16-year war.
Mattis made the suggestion Tuesday before arriving in Kabul on an unannounced visit to discuss President Ashraf Ghani's plan to open peace talks with the Taliban. The former Marine general said it "may be a bridge too far" to expect the Islamic insurgent force to sit down at the negotiating table "in one fell swoop."
The Taliban has previously offered to hold talks on a possible peace agreement, but only directly with the United States, which Mattis rejects. "We want the Afghans to lead and provide the substance to the reconciliation effort," he told reporters.
Mattis said the ultimate victory in Afghanistan will be a "political reconciliation" between Kabul and the Taliban, with a country capable of handling its own security.