U.S. President Donald Trump has said he'd bring up Japan's sensitive abductees issue when he meets the Democratic People's Republic of Korea's (DPRK) leader in an upcoming historic meeting. It remains unknown what the outcome will be.
"I suspect Trump will raise the subject if there is a meeting. Of course his priority will be the three American hostages held by North Korea (DPRK)," said Douglas Paal, vice president for studies at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
"There have also been reports from North Korea (DPRK) that the regime believes the abductees question has been settled, so expectations for concrete results are low even though emotions still run high," Paal said.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe concluded his two-day working visit to the United States on Wednesday. During a meeting with Trump, Abe scored a major win when Trump promised he'd bring up the issue during the upcoming historic meeting with DPRK leader Kim Jong-un.
The issue has been ongoing for some 40 years.
"Trump should raise the issue of Japanese abductees with Kim Jong-un, but in the context of a broader, lasting peace in the region," said Troy Stangarone, senior director at the Korea Economic Institute, a Washington-based non-profit policy research institution.
"While the focus of the upcoming talks will be denuclearization, if there is to be a sustainable peace in the region afterwards, North Korea (DPRK) will need to resolves issues such as the abductees in addition to denuclearizing," Stangarone said.
Brookings Institution Senior Fellow Darrell West told Xinhua that it would not likely be difficult for the DPRK to address the abductees issue.
"It should be easy for North Korea (DPRK) to address the abductees issue. So I would anticipate progress there," he said.
"It is common during negotiations for each country to offer goodwill gestures that remove an impediment to good relations. This is a topic that should be simple to resolve because it will look like progress is being made and there are concrete benefits," he said.
(ASIA PACIFIC DAILY)