Japan, China, South Korea agree to cooperate on North Korea

Moon arrives in Japan for three-way summit with Abe, Li

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang delivers a speech while attending a business summit of China, Japan and South Korea along with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and South Korean President Moon Jae-in in Tokyo, Japan, May 9, 2018.

Abe and Moon also affirmed cooperation by their countries to resolve promptly the issue of North Korea's abductions of Japanese nationals, according to officials familiar with their talks in Tokyo.

Earlier in the day, Japan's Kyodo agency reported that the leaders of China and Japan should agree in the near future on the establishment of a bilateral communication mechanism to prevent incidents at sea and in the air amid continued territorial disputes. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is now in Pyongyang, possibly to set an exact date for the Trump-Kim meeting, an official from Seoul's presidential office Cheong Wa Dae said earlier.

In late March, Kim made a surprise visit to Beijing and held talks with Xi, his first known trip overseas since he assumed power in 2011.

"Above all, we reached the consensus that complete denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula, a permanent peace settlement and improvement of South-North relations is very important for peace and prosperity of Northeast Asia", Moon said.

The leaders of Japan, China, and South Korea held a series of meetings in Tokyo on Wednesday.

The two also agreed on the possibility of starting research activities regarding a railway project to connect their two countries, via North Korea, it said.

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Moon, who took office a year ago, is the first South Korean president in seven years to travel to Japan.

The three appeared to be on the same page regarding North Korean denuclearization as preparations are under way for a summit between Kim and U.S. President Donald Trump scheduled for around mid-June.

North Korea has recently voiced its commitment to denuclearization.

The leaders discussed Pyongyang's nuclear weapons programme and supported free trade.

Moon assured Abe that no such steps would be taken without conferring with the United Nations, the United States and others.

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang was quoted as saying that North Korea has a "clear will toward denuclearization and is doing what the country should do".

"I am coming here to promote the long-term, healthy and steady development of China-Japan relations", reads the article.

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