Photo/IllutrationPrime Minister Shinzo Abe meets with South Korean President Moon Jae-in on Feb. 9 in Pyeongchang, South Korea, prior to the Opening Ceremony of the Winter Olympics. (Pool)

PYEONGCHANG, South Korea--Prime Minister Shinzo Abe urged South Korean President Moon Jae-in not to fall for Pyongyang's friendly gestures and stay aligned with Japan and the United States in maintaining pressure on North Korea.

Abe met with Moon for an hour at a hotel near the venue for the Opening Ceremony of the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, to be held later on Feb. 9.

At the start of the meeting, Moon said, "The South Korean government will use the holding of the Pyeongchang 'Peace Olympics' to make every effort to construct permanent peace on the Korean Peninsula after resolving North Korea's nuclear issue."

Abe said, "After reconfirming the close, cooperative relationship between Japan and South Korea as well as among Japan, South Korea and the United States regarding issues related to North Korea, I want to have a frank exchange of opinions to construct a new future-oriented relationship between Japan and South Korea."

Both Japan and the United States have expressed concerns about South Korea taking a more conciliatory stance toward Pyongyang and its ballistic missile and nuclear weapons development programs in the wake of recent bilateral dialogue between the two Koreas that led to North Korean participation in the Pyeongchang Olympics.

Abe confirmed the need for continued pressure on North Korea during a Feb. 2 telephone call with U.S. President Donald Trump as well as in a Feb. 7 meeting in Tokyo with U.S. Vice President Mike Pence.

In his meeting with Moon, Abe touched upon the fact that North Korea has not said it would end its nuclear weapon and ballistic missile programs. He urged Moon to not become distracted by their "smiling diplomacy."

Abe also reiterated the Japanese stance toward the December 2015 agreement with South Korea that was supposed to have served as a "final and irreversible resolution" of the various issues related to former "comfort women" who were forced to provide sex to Japanese soldiers before and during World War II.

The Feb. 9 meeting between Abe and Moon was the leaders’ first since the South Korean government came out with a more negative stance in January on the comfort women agreement and urged Japan to voluntarily consider taking additional measures.

In part, Moon said that to completely resolve the issue, there was a need for Japan to offer a sincere apology to the former comfort women.

Abe reminded Moon that the "international and universal principle" was to abide by promises made between nations. Abe repeated the Japanese stance that it could not accept the unilateral request made by South Korea for additional measures.

In the meeting, Abe also called on South Korea to thoroughly implement the provisions of the December 2015 agreement, which said in part that Seoul would work toward removing statues placed near the Japanese Embassy in Seoul that symbolize comfort women.

No such statues have been removed, however. In addition, more have been erected in other nations as well as other parts of South Korea.

Abe reminded Moon that Tokyo kept up its part of the agreement by contributing 1 billion yen ($9.1 million) toward a foundation set up by the South Korean government to provide support measures to former comfort women.

(This article was written by Nozomi Matsui and Ryota Kyuki.)