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Abe, Trump to speed up arrangements for Nov. Japan visit

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said he and U.S. President
Donald Trump agreed Thursday in New York to accelerate arrangements
for Trump to make his first official visit to Japan before the end of
the year.

Sources close to the matter have said the governments are
planning a visit in November.

"I have been holding several telephone meetings with President
Trump at appropriate times, but by having him visit Japan, I want to
make Japan-U.S. relations even more solid and deepen our bonds," Abe
told reporters after a roughly hourlong meeting with Trump on the
margins of the U.N. General Assembly.

"The relationship has never been closer, I believe, with Japan
and the United States," Trump said at the start of the talks.

They also agreed to speed up their plans to hold by the end of
the year the second round of a bilateral economic dialogue led by
Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso and Vice President Mike Pence,
according to a senior Japanese official who sat in on the meeting.

Abe went to the United States for talks with Trump in February.
He also held a meeting with the then president-elect in New York in
November last year.

The Japanese leader said he and Trump also confirmed in their
meeting "the unwavering U.S. commitment to the defense of Japan and
the fact that Japan and the United States are with each other 100
percent."

In light of the threat from North Korea's nuclear and ballistic
missile development, a key theme at the annual U.N. gathering, Abe
said he and Trump affirmed that they will work together in calling on
the international community to strengthen pressure on the North,
including through the stringent enforcement of U.N. sanctions.

"It is important for Japan and the United States to work in
coordination to urge regions hosting North Korean laborers and
maintaining trade with North Korea to cut off the flow of funds, and
countries that have diplomatic ties with North Korea to reconsider
those ties," the Japanese official quoted Abe as telling Trump.

The leaders affirmed that they will continue to work together to
appeal to China, Russia and other countries to put the maximum
possible pressure on North Korea, the official said.

North Korea carried out a sixth nuclear test on Sept. 3, which
it said was of a hydrogen bomb that can be mounted on an
intercontinental ballistic missile, and has launched missiles across
Japanese territory into the Pacific Ocean twice in recent weeks.

Abe said he and Trump also agreed to work together on securing
the release of both Japanese abductees and Americans in North Korean
custody.

He said Trump "sent a strong message to the world" in New York
about the issue of the abductions of Japanese nationals in the 1970s
and 1980s.

Trump had mentioned in his general debate address on Tuesday the
abduction of "sweet 13-year-old Japanese girl" Megumi Yokota, who has
become symbolic of the abductees' plight, as well as the death of
U.S. student Otto Warmbier shortly after his release from North
Korean custody in June.

Abe told Trump in their meeting that what happened to Warmbier,
who was released in a coma after more than 17 months' imprisonment,
"reconfirmed the appalling human rights situation in North Korea,"
the Japanese official said. (Sept. 21)