Sun, Jun 15, 2008 - Page 4 News List

Japan urges cooperation in rare three-nation talks

DIVERSION A Japanese professor of politics said that the meeting could help leaders of the three countries, who hope to shift attention from domestic problems

AFP , TOKYO

Japan yesterday called for cooperation on ending North Korea’s nuclear drive as its foreign minister held rare joint talks with regional powers China and South Korea.

Japanese Foreign Minister Masahiko Komura, China’s Yang Jiechi (楊潔箎) and Yu Myung-hwan of South Korea held the second-ever three-way meeting among the countries, whose relations have sometimes been uneasy.

The talks came a day after a surprise thaw in relations between Japan and North Korea, which agreed to start a new probe into an emotive row over the kidnappings of Japanese civilians.

Japan, which has taken the hardest line internationally against North Korea, in turn agreed to ease some sanctions on Pyongyang in a boost for a slow-moving six-nation deal on disarming North Korea.

North Korea missed a deadline to declare all of its nuclear programs by the end of last year as part of the agreement, which was signed by the two Koreas, China, Japan, Russia and the US.

“It’s important North Korea make a full-fledged declaration early,” Komura told South Korea’s Yu, as quoted by a Japanese official who was in their bilateral meeting.

“As the six-nation talks are entering a crucial phase, cooperation between Japan and South Korea and among Japan, the United States and South Korea is more important than ever,” Komura said.

Yu agreed to close cooperation while vowing to work to settle the abduction issue in a way the Japanese can accept, the official said.

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