Photo/IllutrationPrime Minister Shinzo Abe shakes hands with Shigeo Iizuka, leader of the group of abductees’ families, at a meeting in Tokyo’s Chiyoda Ward on April 22. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)

SEOUL--State-run North Korean media criticized Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and other Japanese leaders on May 12 for pressing the “already resolved” issue of Japanese nationals abducted by North Korean agents.

“It is a clumsy and foolish attempt for reactionary elements in Japan to again bring up the ‘abduction issue,’ which was already resolved,” the Korean Central News Agency said in a commentary.

It also blasted the Abe administration’s calls for a continuation of sanctions against and maximum pressure maintained on Pyongyang.

“While the entire world actively supports and welcomes the upcoming North Korea-U.S. summit as a step toward a bright future for the Korean Peninsula, only Japan is moving in a crooked manner,” the KCNA continued.

After U.S. President Donald Trump expressed willingness in March to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, North Korea’s state media significantly lessened criticism of Washington, but increased criticism of the Abe administration.

The KCNA commentary follows recent comments by the North Korean leader, who seemed to be leaving the door open for more discussion on the issue.

At a summit with South Korean President Moon Jae-in on April 27, Kim did not use the expression that the abduction issue was “already resolved,” according to sources. Instead he was quoted as asking why Japan had not raised the issue with him directly.

In 2002, North Korea returned five abductees to Japan and declared that eight had died over the years. Japan, however, believes that some might still be alive and has pressed for a final settlement of the issue.