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Japan is not ready to provide food aid to North Korea anytime soon because a proper environment for making such a move has yet to be created, Foreign Minister Yohei Kono said Friday. Kono’s comment came in response to the result of two bilateral meetings this week in Beijing — one between the two countries’ Red Cross societies on humanitarian issues and another between the two governments on setting a framework for normalization talks. “It is necessary for us to comprehensively analyze North Korean reaction to the humanitarian issues Japan has presented, including the abduction of Japanese,” Kono told a news conference after the day’s Cabinet meeting. Therefore, the government is not ready to approve Pyongyang food aid anytime soon, Kono said, expressing caution toward the agreement the Red Cross societies hammered out Tuesday. At the meeting, Japanese delegates agreed to urge the government to resume food aid to North Korea “as quickly as possible from a humanitarian viewpoint.” The North Korean side promised to request a relevant organization to launch a “full-scale search” for missing Japanese who Tokyo believes were abducted by Pyongyang.

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