Japan PM Abe meets U.N. chief Ban to discuss Syria, N. Korea

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki Moon agreed Wednesday to cooperate in eliminating chemical weapons in Syria and addressing North Korea's nuclear and humanitarian issues, a Japanese official said.

During their talks in New York, Abe said Japan supports efforts to eliminate chemical weapons in Syria and will help refugees fleeing Syria to neighboring countries, while Ban expressed hope for Japan's further contribution to improving the humanitarian crisis, according to the official.

Syria has agreed to a U.S.-Russian deal to place chemical weapons under international supervision, with the United Nations yet to draft a resolution amid differences over whether it should refer to Chapter 7 of the U.N. Charter that would allow use of force.

Aside from Syria, Abe said it is necessary to continue applying pressure on North Korea to take concrete action regarding its nuclear development, and fully account for the Japanese nationals North Korea abducted in the 1970s and 1980s, a long-standing issue that Abe has pledged to resolve.

Abe expressed hope that a meaningful report will be produced by a U.N. commission that visited Japan in late August to investigate human rights violations in North Korea, and Ban expressed sympathy and hope for Japan to play its role in the handling of the issue, the Japanese official said.

The meeting came after remarks by Ban, a former South Korean foreign minister, that stressed the need for Japan to have "a correct view of history" but Abe and Ban did not discuss the issue, according to the official.

Japan's ties with its neighboring countries such as China and South Korea have been frayed over territorial issues and divergent perceptions of wartime history.