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North Korea launches team to mend ties with Japan: report
  来源:苹果蓝号检测  更新时间:2024-07-26 02:10:47
By Park Si-soo

North Korea has put together a team to negotiate with Japan, which itself is seeking direct talks to settle various issues, Japan's Kyodo news agency reported on Saturday, citing sources familiar with bilateral relations.

Kyodo said the negotiating team was apparently established sometime between April and the historic U.S.-North Korea summit on June 12. If the report is true, the team is a visible indicator North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is interested in exploring dialogue with Tokyo in the midst of a rapid change in the geopolitics of the Korean Peninsula.

"North Korea decided earlier this year that mending ties with Japan would become a future objective if it moves to improve ties with the United States, South Korea and China," the news outlet quoted a source as saying.

At a plenary meeting in April of the central committee of North Korea's ruling party, the policy of pursuing active dialogue with surrounding countries was adopted, according to the outlet.

It is not known who heads the team, but Kim Yong-chol, a close aide to the North Korean leader and vice chairman of the Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea, is among the names being mentioned.

Tokyo has long sought answers about the abduction of Japanese by North Korea in the 1970s and 1980s. Japan officially lists 17 citizens as abduction victims and suspects the North's involvement in many more disappearances.

But no substantial progress has been made despite exchanges with the team and prospects for making progress are clouded by the murky outlook for the ongoing denuclearization talks between the United States and North Korea.

Kyodo said Japan is exploring the possibility of a summit between Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and North Korean leader Kim on the occasion of international gatherings in September, either in the Russian city of Vladivostok or in New York.


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