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Japan, US considering Abe-Trump summit on Sept. 25

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (right, Mainichi)and U.S. President Donald Trump (AP)

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- Japan and the United States are considering arranging a summit between Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and U.S. President Donald Trump around Sept. 25 in the United States, Japanese government sources said Friday.

The envisaged summit, the eighth for the two leaders, would come as Abe is expected to be re-elected leader of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party on Sept. 20, and soon after attend the 73rd session of the U.N. General Assembly in New York, according to the sources.

Abe and Trump are expected to discuss the North Korea nuclear and missile issues as well as its past abduction of Japanese nationals in the 1970s and 1980s.

The Japanese leader will likely seek to coordinate bilateral efforts to break what is increasingly seen as a stalemate in U.S.-North Korea denuclearization talks as U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo recently canceled his trip to North Korea, the sources said.

Trade will also likely be on the agenda given that Trump has taken issue with the massive U.S. trade deficits with countries including Japan.

Tokyo and Washington have launched high-level trade talks and Japan is weighing the possibility of holding another round before the summit to discuss issues related to the auto and agricultural sectors, the sources said.

Japan remains wary of the U.S. push for a bilateral free trade agreement as Tokyo is pursuing multilateral ones.

The LDP's leadership race effectively decides who will be Japan's next prime minister. Abe's securing of another three-year term will boost the likelihood that he will become the longest-serving prime minister in Japan.

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