Photo/IllutrationPrime Minister Shinzo Abe, right, and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un (Photos by The Asahi Shimbun and The Rodong Sinmun)

SEOUL--An early June summit between the leaders of Japan and North Korea appears to be in the cards, according to a source close to the reclusive state.

The source said that the regime in Pyongyang briefed the higher echelons of the ruling Workers' Party about the possibility of a meeting between Kim Jong Un and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Word of the diplomatic initiative was outlined in a document used in "study sessions" for the political education of high-ranking party officials by the Central Committee.

The document praises the diplomatic skills of Kim Jong Un and explains the separate foreign policy directions to be taken in dealing with South Korea, the United States, China, Japan and Russia, in that order.

North Korea has agreed to summit talks with South Korea in late April, and is also moving to arrange a meeting between Kim Jong Un and U.S. President Donald Trump by the end of May. The dramatic visit to Beijing this week by Kim Jong Un for talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping is another development that appears to reflect North Korea's priorities shown in the briefing paper.

The document is the first clear sign of interest by Pyongyang in a Japan-North Korea summit meeting after Kim Jong Un took over the leadership in December 2011.

With regard to diplomacy toward Japan, the document noted that the Japanese government had put out feelers on a possible summit.

"The Japanese government has recently indicated an interest in holding a summit meeting with North Korea through communications going through the General Association of Korean Residents in Japan (Chongryon)," the document states, referring to the pro-Pyongyang organization in Tokyo that serves as the North's de facto embassy in the absence of formal diplomatic relations between the two countries.

The document says that the meeting between Kim Jong Un and Abe could take place in Pyongyang in early June.

However, it does not provide details about how North Korea intends to proceed with its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile development programs or the issue of abductions of Japanese nationals that was highlighted in the September 2002 Pyongyang Declaration as a pending issue to resolve in normalizing relations between Japan and North Korea.

North Korea's state media has repeatedly criticized Japan in recent weeks, apparently as part of a strategy to raise negotiating conditions when dealing with Japan, a separate source said.

While the United States is viewed by North Korea as the only country that can guarantee its security, Japan is regarded as the only nation that can provide significant economic support, the source said.

There are expectations in North Korea that Japan could provide an economic assistance package ranging anywhere between $20 billion to $50 billion (2.1 trillion yen to 5.3 trillion yen) once diplomatic relations are normalized.