North Korea says Japan PM Kishida wants summit with Kim Jong Un

The sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un says Japanese Prime Minister Kishida Fumio recently conveyed his intention to meet Kim face-to-face for summit talks as soon as possible.

Kim Yo Jong made the comment through the state-run Korean Central News Agency on Monday.

Kim said Kishida recently conveyed his intention "through another channel." The statement reiterated North Korea's position that an abduction issue has already been settled. Kim added that if Japan continues to interfere with the exercise of North Korea's sovereign rights and to dwell on the abduction issue, the prime minister would be criticized for a proposal that is "little short of a bid for popularity."

The Japanese government says at least 17 of its citizens were abducted by North Korean agents in the 1970s and 1980s. Five were repatriated after a bilateral summit in 2002, but the other 12 remain unaccounted for.

Kim also urged Kishida to make a political decision to improve bilateral relations sincerely and to become a good neighbor.

She also said it would be impossible for Kishida to meet the leadership of her country, even if he really wants to do so.

Kim Yo Jong said in February that a visit by Kishida to Pyongyang would only be possible if Tokyo does not make the abduction issue an obstacle to bilateral relations.