North scrutiny to continue, Komura, two G8 counterparts agree

by Reiji Yoshida

KYOTO — Foreign Minister Masahiko Komura and his Italian and British counterparts agree the Group of Eight should continue to closely monitor North Korea’s nuclear program, a Foreign Ministry official said Thursday.

Komura met separately with Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini and British Foreign Secretary David Milband in Kyoto on the sidelines of the two-day G8 foreign ministers meeting, which opened Thursday.

The agreement came just before North Korea handed over its nuclear declaration to China, which is chairing the six-party denuclearization talks.

Komura and Frattini agreed the G8 foreign ministers must send the North a strong message over its nuclear foot-dragging, according to Japanese officials who briefed reporters.

Milband called the day “a very important day,” saying that the G8 countries should closely watch for any additional messages the communist state may attach to the declaration, the official said.

Bush ‘won’t forget’

The Associated Press

U.S. President George W. Bush told Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda on Wednesday he understands Tokyo’s concern about Japanese citizens kidnapped by North Korea.

North Korea has not publicly announced details of its proposed investigation.