• Kyodo

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North Korean negotiators said during August talks in Tokyo that Pyongyang hopes to normalize relations with Japan and the United States by the time the South Korean president’s term expires in February 2003, sources familiar with Japan-North Korea relations said Saturday.

During their four-day stay here, the North Koreans urged Japanese officials to promote normalization talks and alluded to North Korea’s hopes of establishing ties with Japan and the U.S. before the end of President Kim Dae Jung’s five-year term in February 2003, the sources said.

The delegates reportedly gave no reason for the timetable.

In their historic inter-Korean summit in June in Pyongyang, Kim Dae Jung called on North Korean leader Kim Jong Il to improve relations with Japan and the U.S.

Kim Dae Jung has also pushed Japan and the U.S. to improve ties with the North.

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