In his annual policy speech to the Japanese Diet on Monday, Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said he would be willing to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
He said Pyongyang and Tokyo need to (quote) "break the shell of mutual distrust," to resolve the issue of the regime's nuclear program and the abductions of Japanese citizens by North Korean agents back in the 1970s and 80s.
Abe however, omitted the mentioning of Japan's bilateral relationship with South Korea.
Until last year's annual policy speech, Abe emphasized the cooperative partnership with Seoul.
Experts think the unprecedented omission of such paragraph regarding ties with South Korea, seems to reflect Abe's strategic decision to use the current sour relationship with Seoul for its domestic political interests.
The Japanese Prime Minister stressed a strengthened alliance with the U.S., a new phase in bilateral ties with China, and steps towards a peace treaty with Russia.
Meanwhile, Abe also mentioned the issue of amending Japan's pacifist Constitution at the very end of his speech, saying he hopes more discussions to be held at the Diet.
Monday's annual policy speech was Abe's seventh policy speech since 2012.
Park Ji-won, Arirang News.