Japan, North Korea agree to continue dialogue
- Published: 16/11/2012 at 02:47 PM
- Online news:
Senior Japanese and North Korean diplomats ended rare talks Friday, with reports saying they were eyeing a further meeting.
This picture taken on November 15, shows Sugiyama Shinsuke, the head of Asia Pacific region of Foreign Affairs Ministery of Japan, giving a speech to journalists on the bilateral talks between North Korea and Japan, at Ikh Tenger tower in Ulan Bator, Mongolia.
Japanese negotiator Shinsuke Sugiyama said the two sides agreed to continue their dialogue for "further consideration" about the issue of the North's past abduction of Japanese nationals, according to Jiji Press.
During the two-day meeting in the Mongolian capital, they agreed that the next round of talks would be held as soon as possible, Jiji and Kyodo News reported, quoting Sugiyama.
"Although the consultation itself is not an easy matter, both sides have exchanged views sincerely," Sugiyama told Japanese reporters Thursday night, after a nearly seven-hour session.
"The atmosphere of the meeting was not acerbic. It was direct, serious and very rich in substance. We discussed a wide range of subjects in depth," Sugiyama said.
The direct talks between Sugiyama and his North Korean counterpart Song Il-Ho were the first senior, working-level meeting between the two nations in four years.
The countries do not have diplomatic ties and have long been at odds, with Tokyo pressing Pyongyang to come clean over past abductions of Japanese nationals and its nuclear ambitions.
In 2002 Pyongyang admitted its agents had kidnapped Japanese nationals in the 1970s and 1980s to train its spies in Japanese language and customs.
For its part, North Korea maintains Japan has not made up for its war-time aggression. It demands compensation and atonement.
The talks became possible after an earlier exchange between mid-level Japanese and North Korean diplomats in August in Beijing.
Mongolian President Elbegdorj Tsakhia told AFP in Ulan Bator he was delighted the two nations had come together in his country.
"You know Japan, North Korea and other countries can come to discuss this issue on Mongolian soil. We would like to contribute to that. That is our only purpose. We are happy to host this kind of meeting," he said.
However, media in Japan said little substantive progress was expected because of the looming general election at home.
Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda's ruling Democratic Party of Japan is widely expected to be kicked out of office in polls on December 16.
About the author
- Writer: AFP
Position: News agency