• Staff report


Visiting U.S. National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice and Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi discussed issues ranging from North Korea’s nuclear program to Iraq during their meeting Wednesday, Japanese officials said.

Rice noted that Pyongyang’s nuclear development is an “imminent” issue for Washington, adding that the key to the matter is how to persuade North Korea to abandon its nuclear program, according to an official who briefed reporters.

Koizumi responded by saying that Japan, the United States and South Korea need to be tenacious in persuading North Korea to abandon its atomic program through the six-nation framework, which also includes China and Russia, the official said.

Rice expressed gratitude over Japan’s dispatch of Self-Defense Forces troops to Iraq and its financial contributions toward rebuilding the country.

She also thanked Tokyo for its efforts in trying to dispel discord among members of the international community and for forging unity with regard to Iraq’s reconstruction, the official said.

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