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Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi and South Korean Defense Minister Cheon Yong Taek agreed Tuesday to improve bilateral consultations to promote peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula and in Northeast Asia, Foreign Ministry officials said.

Earlier in the day, Foreign Minister Masahiko Komura and Cheon also agreed to promote cooperation in dealing with issues on the Korean Peninsula, including North Korea’s launch of a ballistic missile, the construction of two light water nuclear reactors for North Korea and its suspected development of nuclear technologies, the ministry officials said.

Komura and Cheon also agreed that cooperation is necessary among Japan, South Korea and the United States, the officials said.

Obuchi told Cheon the Japanese people are concerned about the missile launch because it passed over Japan, the officials said. He said it is hard to understand North Korea and told Cheon that he wonders why North Korea does not appreciate South Korean President Kim Dae Jung’s efforts to improve relations with Pyongyang, they said.

Cheon told Obuchi that North Korea is unpredictable and added it is difficult to promote cooperation with Pyongyang. Cheon added that Seoul is also concerned about suspected nuclear development by North Korea, according to the officials.

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