Thursday 23 March 2017

Linda Sieg: Kidnap issue colours Japan's stance on Korea

Linda Sieg in Tokyo

Japan wants China to help keep North Korea from imploding and might need US defence backup if it does, but its own ability to take diplomatic initiatives is being constrained by its focus on the fate of citizens abducted by Pyongyang decades ago.

Japan, whose territory is within range of its unpredictable neighbour's missile arsenal, has made a show of solidarity with its closest ally, the United States, since Monday's sudden announcement that 69-year-old North Korean leader Kim Jong-il had died.

The question of North Korea's shaky succession will also top the agenda when prime minister Yoshihiko Noda makes a previously scheduled visit to China on December 25 and 26.

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