White House says Trump and Abe agree to meet before expected U.S.-N.Korea summit

WASHINGTON, May 28 (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe discussed North Korea by phone on Monday and confirmed they would meet before an expected U.S.-North Korea summit, the White House said.

A White House statement said that in their call, Trump and Abe "affirmed the shared imperative of achieving the complete and permanent dismantlement of North Korea’s nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons and ballistic missile programs."

Earlier, Japan's Kyodo news agency quoted Abe as saying that the two leaders had agreed to cooperate to make the summit between the U.S. president and North Korean leader meaningful.

Trump last week pulled out of the summit with Kim, planned for June 12 in Singapore, before announcing he had reconsidered and that U.S. and North Korean officials were meeting to work out details.

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US President Donald Trump and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis (3rd L) mark Memorial Day by laying a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia, on May 28, 2018 (Photo by JIM WATSON / AFP) (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
(L-R) US President Donald Trump, with US Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Joseph Dunford, sings the National Anthem during a Memorial Day ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia, on May 28, 2018. (Photo by JIM WATSON / AFP) (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Donald Trump and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis (3rd L) mark Memorial Day by laying a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia, on May 28, 2018 (Photo by JIM WATSON / AFP) (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Donald Trump marks Memorial Day with a speech at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia, on May 28, 2018. (Photo by JIM WATSON / AFP) (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Donald Trump (L) greets US Secretary of Defense James Mattis (C) and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Joseph Dunford (R) before speaking at a Memorial Day ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia, on May 28, 2018. (Photo by JIM WATSON / AFP) (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Donald Trump applauds while speaking at a Memorial Day ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia, on May 28, 2018. (Photo by JIM WATSON / AFP) (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Donald Trump marks Memorial Day with a speech at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia, on May 28, 2018. (Photo by JIM WATSON / AFP) (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Donald Trump marks Memorial Day by laying a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia, on May 28, 2018 (Photo by JIM WATSON / AFP) (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Donald Trump (L) arrives to speak after laying a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia, on May 28, 2018 with US Secretary of Defense James Mattis (2nd R) and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs General Joseph Dunford (R). (Photo by JIM WATSON / AFP) (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
(L-R) US President Donald Trump, US Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Joseph Dunford attend a Memorial Day ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia, on May 28, 2018. (Photo by JIM WATSON / AFP) (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Donald Trump shakes hands with members of the military after laying a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia, on May 28, 2018. (Photo by JIM WATSON / AFP) (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
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On Sunday, the U.S. State Department said U.S. and North Korean officials had met at Panmunjom, a village in the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) that runs along the heavily armed border between North and South Korea.

A "pre-advance" team of U.S. officials has also traveled to Singapore to meet with North Koreans there, the White House said.

While both Trump and Kim have appeared eager to hold the summit, the two sides have remained far apart on the key issue of denuclearization, with North Korea rejecting U.S. demands for it to unilaterally abandon a nuclear weapons program that now threatens the United States.

The White House gave no details as to when the Trump-Abe meeting might take place, but both leaders are due to attend the G7 meeting of big industrial powers that runs from June 8 to 9 in Canada. Japanese media have also quoted government officials as saying Abe could visit Washington for talks with Trump before the G7 meeting. (Reporting by David Brunnstrom; Editing by Peter Cooney)

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