• Kyodo

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Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi on Wednesday said fellow Asian leaders attending the just-ended summit talks here understand Japan’s need to “comprehensively” resolve a range of issues with North Korea.

“I explained Japan will strive to reach a peaceful resolution comprehensively over the issues of abductions, nuclear arms and missiles toward normalization of diplomatic ties, and think that was understood by other leaders,” Koizumi told a news conference.

“I think we could share the view that we will strive for a peaceful resolution and reaffirm to continue mutual cooperation, with other countries keeping interest in this matter,” he said.

Koizumi took part in two days of talks with his counterparts from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, China and South Korea on the Indonesian resort island of Bali.

He also praised China for helping to carry out six-nation talks over North Korea’s nuclear weapons program in Beijing in late August, and called for its continued role in maintaining momentum for dialogue.

“Compared with South Korea and Japan, China has far more influence over North Korea,” he said. “We should continue six-way talks including not only the United States, South Korea and Japan but also China and Russia. In that respect, I felt during the talks that the role of China is large.”

Asked why Japan has no plan to join ASEAN’s 1976 Treaty of Amity and Cooperation despite the group’s request and entry by China and India during this year’s meetings, Koizumi said Japan-ASEAN ties are already strong without the pact.

“Japan already has maintained a firm cooperative relationship with ASEAN,” he said. “Japan has advanced cooperation at its own discretion and I think can continue to cooperate not only economically but also for political stability regardless of whether there is a TAC or not.”

Koizumi, Roh agree

NUSA DUA, Indonesia (Kyodo) Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi and South Korean President Roh Moo Hyun agreed Wednesday to seek the early resumption of six-way talks focusing on the North Korean nuclear crisis, Japanese officials said.

Koizumi also sought South Korea’s continued support for Japan’s bid to resolve the issue of Japanese nationals abducted by North Korean agents in the 1970s and 1980s, the officials said.

Roh appeared supportive.

In a reference to Tuesday’s declaration by Pyongyang that Japan would be barred from the next round of talks, Koizumi emphasized “the need not to be provoked” by North Korean remarks.

He called for continued coordination by the five countries — besides North Korea — that participated in the Beijing talks in late August, they said.

The five are the United States, China, Japan, South Korea and Russia.

Roh was quoted as saying the two countries have “no differences in views on the North Korean nuclear issue.”

The two met on the sidelines of a summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

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