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Iijima laying foundation for North Korean abduction talks: report

JIJI

Isao Iijima, a special adviser to the Cabinet of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, is believed to have met with a North Korean official during a visit to Beijing last week, sources said Monday.

Among them, a source close to bilateral affairs said North Korea had proposed talks on the issue of Japanese nationals suspected of being abducted by the country.

It is not known who Iijima met with in Beijing.

On May 14-17, Iijima visited the North Korean capital, Pyongyang, to meet with ranking North Korean officials — including No. 2 leader Kim Yong Nam, president of the Presidium of the Supreme People’s Assembly, and Kim Yong Il, secretary of the Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea, who is responsible for foreign affairs.

During these meetings, Iijima conveyed Abe’s determination to solve the abduction issue and urged the North Korean side to take a positive approach to the issue.

Iijima’s latest meeting with the North Korea side is believed to have taken place just before Japan’s Upper House election Sunday.

It is possible that North Korea was attempting to create a foundation for possible dialogue after the election through contact with Iijima, ahead of the expected victory of Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party. The LDP-led block swept the polls and now controls the Diet.