In a presidential first, President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump greeted the family members of persons who have been abducted by North Korea's totalitarian regime. Joined by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Trump made an emotional statement to the grieving families, while vowing to work with the Japanese leader to find resolution. 

No other president has recognized the issue in a similar way. A total of 16 family members of abductees, and one former abductee, were present to hear remarks made by President Trump and Prime Minister Abe. 

President Trump: “We’ve just heard a very very sad number of stories; and they were abducted by North Korea. We will work with Prime Minister Abe to get them back … They were used to learn the language … used for many reasons … it was a tremendous disgrace. … They’ve been through a lot.”

Prime Minister Abe: expressed “heartfelt appreciation for the speech you delivered in the UN General Assembly … The entire world paid attention …. I appreciate you specifically referred to this issue … I hope the entire world will know the simple reality of the abduction issue.”

Also on Sunday, Trump and the First Lady met 83-year-old Japanese Emperor Akhito and Empress Michiko at the Imperial Residence in the center of Tokyo. The Japanese dignataries met the president and Mrs. Trump at the covered driveway at the entrance of the residence. Upon exchanging greetings through an interpreter, the imperial couple and the Trumps entered the residene for what the White House described as matter of state.

 

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Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat and the editor of Spero News.

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