Japan and North Korea will hold their 11th round of normalization talks in Beijing on Oct. 30 and 31, Foreign Minister Yohei Kono announced Tuesday.
As in the 10th round of discussions, held in August in Japan, Tokyo’s chief negotiator will be Kojiro Takano, ambassador in charge of the normalization talks, while the North Korean team will be led by Ambassador Jong Tae Hwa, Kono said.
The two countries resumed the ninth round of negotiations in April after the talks broke down in November 1992.
“Since all the claims by both sides got on to the negotiation table in the ninth and 10th rounds, I want to see substantial negotiations in the upcoming round,” Kono said.
The talks come after Japan decided to provide 500,000 tons of rice in food aid to North Korea and after a high-level U.S.-North Korea meeting took place in Washington.
in which the two sides decided that U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright would visit Pyongyang later this month to prepare for a possible visit by the U.S. president.
Kono denied speculation that he would also visit Pyongyang soon, saying, “I do not plan to do so at the moment.”
But he expressed hope that Albright’s visit would come before Japan-North Korea normalization talks. “I don’t know if it will work out, but it would be good if we can hear what went on (in Albright’s visit) and make some calculations before the 30th,” he said.
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