Abe, Putin to hold talks amid North Korean nuclear crisis

TOKYO/SEOUL, dpa correspondents (dpa) - Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will meet Russian President Vladimir Putin in Russia this week to discuss the North Korean nuclear crisis, Tokyo said on Tuesday, while South Korea has conducted live-fire drills off the Korean Peninsula.
Abe and Putin will hold talks on Wednesday on the sidelines of the Eastern Economic Forum in the Russian port city of Vladivostok, Japanese government spokesman Yoshihide Suga told a news conference.

North Korean officials are also expected to participate in the two-day conference, which will be held in the wake of Pyongyang's sixth nuclear test on Sunday, its most powerful to date.
Abe wants Russia and China to play a larger role in dealing with Pyongyang's nuclear and missile programmes.
Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono attended a parliamentary committee session on Tuesday, pledging to "work in close coordination with both the United States and South Korea to urge Russia and China to properly play a role."
Meanwhile, South Korea’s Yonhap news agency reported the drills in the East Sea were "massive," adding that the navy said the manoeuvres were a show of the country's "resolve to retaliate against North Korea's provocations."
A frigate, patrol ship, guided-missile vessels as well as high-speed boats were used in the exercises, Yonhap quoted the South Korean navy as saying.
The navy also plans to hold four days of further training from Wednesday onwards, in the country's southern waters.
The drills came two days after North Korea claimed it had tested a hydrogen bomb that can be loaded onto an intercontinental ballistic missile.
Late Monday, the White House confirmed that US President Donald Trump telephoned with his South Korean counterpart Moon Jae In, giving his in-principle approval to Seoul's plan to lift restrictions on the country's missile payload capabilities.
President Trump also gave his approval for the purchase of many billions of dollars' worth of military weapons and equipment from the United States by South Korea, the statement added.

Tuesday, September 5th 2017
dpa correspondents

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