Speaking in the lower house of parliament Monday, Abe pointedly declined to comment on Trump’s claim last week that he had submitted the nomination to the Nobel committee.
“I’m not saying that it is not the fact,” Abe said, adding that the US President had been working to curb North Korea’s nuclear and missile development, and that he “highly” appreciated his leadership.
“I’ll continue to (offer) my utmost cooperation to President Trump to solve the North Korean nuclear and missile issues and the abduction issue, which is the most important … for Japan,” said Abe.
“With that in mind, as for the Nobel Peace Prize, the Nobel Committee has decided not to disclose nominators and nominees for 50 years. I would like to refrain from commenting on it, based on that fact.”
The White House did not respond to a request for comment on the Asahi report.
‘The most beautiful letter’
Trump said on Friday that Abe had made the nomination and had given him a copy of the five-page letter he had sent to the Nobel nominating committee in Oslo.
“Prime Minister Abe of Japan gave me the most beautiful copy of a letter that he sent to the people who give out a thing called the Nobel Prize,’ Trump said.
“He said ‘I have nominated you, respectfully, on behalf of Japan. I am asking them to give you the Nobel Peace Prize,” added Trump.
“You know why? Because he had rocket ships and he had missiles flying over Japan,” Trump said. “They feel safe. I did that.”
Abe has been one of Trump’s most stalwart allies in the two years since he took office, and was the first world leader to meet the newly inaugurated President.
However, the spokesperson said that Moon “thinks that President Trump is more than eligible for the Nobel Peace Prize” because of his contribution to bringing peace to the Korean peninsula.
Nobel prizes are usually announced in October but awarded annually on December 10, the anniversary of the death of Alfred Nobel, who gives his name to the awards.
While no binding agreements were signed at the time, Pyongyang has refrained from conducting additional missile or nuclear tests since the push toward denuclearizing the peninsula began with a conciliatory New Year’s speech by Kim at the start of 2018.
In his announcement Friday, Trump once again cited progress he has made with North Korea, pointing to the lack of nuclear and missile testing and the “very good relationship” he has forged with Kim.
However, Pyongyang continues to develop its nuclear program despite the lack of testing and has yet to take concrete, verifiable steps toward denuclearization.