Fri, May 23, 2003 - Page 5 News List

Japan back to being third wheel

SIDELINED Prime Minister Koizumi is still trying to keep a high profile diplomatically, but has been shunted off to the sidelines time and again


As Tokyo's efforts to deal with the North dried up, the US, South Korea, Russia and China have all since entered the fray, taking turns pressuring North Korea to scrap its suspected nuclear and missile development programs.

At his meeting with Bush, Koizumi is expected to bring up the possibility of imposing economic sanctions on North Korea. The North says it considers sanctions tantamount to a declaration of war.

But Koizumi's spokesman, Yu Kameoka, said the Japanese premier will likely await Washington's cue.

"Koizumi still wants to reopen talks with North Korea. But right now he is monitoring discussions between US and North Korean officials," Kameoka said.

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