Japan Institute for National Fundamentals

Speaking out

  • HOME
  • Speaking Out
  • 【#521(Special)】Try Secret Negotiations with N. Korea Using Intelligence Pros
Tsutomu Nishioka

【#521(Special)】Try Secret Negotiations with N. Korea Using Intelligence Pros

Tsutomu Nishioka / 2018.06.20 (Wed)

June 15, 2018

     The recent U.S.-North Korea summit has made great progress toward rescuing Japanese citizens abducted by North Korea. U.S. President Donald Trump told a press conference that he took up the abduction issue at his meeting with North Korean Workers’ Party Chairman Kim Jong Un. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said his thought about the issue was clearly conveyed by President Trump to Chairman Kim. “President Trump told Chairman Kim to firmly tackle the abduction issue if he wanted Japan to provide economic assistance,” a Japanese government official said (The Tokyo Shimbun dated June 13).
Great progress at U.S.-North Korea summit
     President Trump urged Chairman Kim to completely dismantle nuclear weapons and missiles, threatening to launch a “beheading operation” (military attack) if the North Korean leader fails to do so. However, the U.S. president has reiterated that Washington would not pay money in exchange for the dismantlement. He told Kim that the North Korean leader should talk with Abe who would pay money and that Abe vowed not to pay money unless the abduction issue is resolved.
     The abduction issue has thus been put into a deal between the U.S. and North Korean leaders. This is Japan’s great diplomatic achievement that has taken advantage of U.S. military pressure to back up the resolution of the abduction issue. Japan has not been bypassed but successfully put the abduction issue resolution and economic assistance into the Washington-Pyongyang deal.
     Given this, Prime Minister Abe said: “While receiving strong support from President Trump, Japan must directly face North Korea to resolve the abduction issue.” In a meeting with Abe at the Prime Minister’s Office on June 14, family members of the abductees requested the prime minister not to be hasty in realizing his meeting with Kim Jong Un but to make sure the return of all abductees to Japan before holding the Japan-North Korea summit. Some media organizations had indicated that the family members are dissatisfied with Prime Minister Abe’s policy of emphasizing sanctions on North Korea while having no dialogue with Pyongyang. Such indication proved wrong.
Don’t be hasty in realizing Japan-North Korea summit
     When President Trump conveyed Prime Minister Abe’s thought to Kim Jong Un, the North Korean leader reportedly refrained from stereotypical assertion that the abduction issue had already been resolved. In May, a source close to the inside of North Korea told me that the Kim Jong Un regime would attempt to hold a Japan-North Korea summit to obtain massive money after having a successful U.S.-North Korea summit .
     Prime Minister Abe should not be hasty in seeking the Tokyo-Pyongyang summit. Intelligence professionals handling confidential information about the Japanese abductees should be given a mission to hold secret negotiations with Pyongyang. After becoming confident that all Japanese abductees in North Korea would return to Japan together, the negotiations should be handed over to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for open talks. The U.S. Central Intelligence Agency held behind-the-scene talks with Pyongyang before handing over the talks to the State Department. Prime Minister Abe should adopt this approach. Only after confirming the North Korean leader’s decision to return all Japanese abductees immediately and together, Abe should have final negotiations with Kim to discuss a reward for the decision.

Tsutomu Nishioka is a member of the Planning Committee at the Japan Institute for National Fundamentals and Visiting Professor at Reitaku University.