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Prime Minister Shinzo Abe speaks at a reception for the Mount Fuji Dialogue on Oct. 27.
North Korea Crisis

Abe wants 'maximum' pressure on Pyongyang from Trump visit

Japanese PM says North Korean economy can 'drastically improve' with right path

TOKYO -- Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Friday that he wants to "raise pressure to the maximum" against North Korea during U.S. President Trump's first visit to Japan in early November, but added that North Korea could "drastically improve its economy if the country will take the right path."

Speaking at a reception for the Mount Fuji Dialogue, a gathering of influential politicians and businesses people from Japan and the U.S., Abe said: "I would like to have frank discussions with President Trump on various issues, including North Korea," while Trump visits Japan from Nov. 5 to 7.

One of key events planned is Trump's meeting with families of Japanese abductees in North Korea, Abe told participants. By listening to their stories, Abe said, two leaders will "confirm that Japan and the U.S. will cooperate on resolving the issue of abduction."

The abductees are a key issue for Japan, along with Pyongyang's nuclear and missile programs.

"We must raise pressure to the maximum to create situation in which North Korea comes to us and begs us to have a dialogue," the prime minister said.

"If North Korea chooses the right path, it can drastically improve its economy," Abe said, because the North has a "diligent workforce and abundant resources." But, he warned, there will be "no bright future without resolving the nuclear and abduction issues." 

Abe also said his government supports Trump's hard line on North Korea. "Japan has been consistently supporting President Trump's position that 'all options are on the table.'" 

The Mount Fuji Dialogue is organized by the Japan Center for Economic Research and the Japan Institute of International Affairs.

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