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Koizumi to visit South Korea soon

Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi plans to visit South Korea to meet South Korean President Roh Moo Hyun around July 21, government sources said Thursday.

Koizumi is expected to make an overnight trip to discuss North Korea’s nuclear development and improve bilateral relations that have been soured by his visits to Tokyo’s controversial Yasukuni Shrine, which honors convicted Class-A war criminals among the war dead.

The summit might take place on the southern South Korean resort island of Cheju, according to diplomatic sources.

Koizumi is expected to brief Roh about his May 22 meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Il and ask Seoul to support Tokyo’s effort to resolve the issue of Pyongyang’s past abductions of Japanese citizens, the government sources said.

Koizumi and Roh are also expected to discuss ways to resolve the standoff over North Korea’s nuclear ambitions.

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