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Koizumi to meet Roh on South Korean island of Cheju

Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi will visit South Korea’s resort island of Cheju next week to meet with South Korean President Roh Moo Hyun, Chief Cabinet Secretary Hiroyuki Hosoda said Tuesday.

Koizumi will visit the island for two days beginning July 21 to discuss North Korea’s nuclear ambitions, Japan’s relations with the North as well as issues concerning Tokyo-Seoul ties, Hosoda said.

The Koizumi-Roh talks are set for July 21.

The two leaders are expected to “exchange opinions on ways to develop bilateral ties and policies on North Korea to ensure peace and stability in Northeast Asia,” Hosoda told a news conference.

He noted that South Korea was sympathetic toward North Korea’s position during six-way talks last month, although Japan and the United States strongly demanded that Pyongyang abandon its nuclear arms program in a complete, irreversible and verifiable way.

“We need to verify South Korea’s stance,” Hosoda said.

The six-way talks on North Korea’s nuclear threat involves North and South Korea, Japan, the U.S., China and Russia.

Okada to visit U.S.

Democratic Party of Japan President Katsuya Okada will visit the United States between July 27 and Aug. 1 to create relationships with key U.S. government and Congress figures, party lawmakers said Tuesday.

It will be his second overseas trip since he assumed the DPJ presidency in May.

Okada is expected to present himself on the trip as the leader of a party that could take power in Japan, analysts said. The DPJ scored big gains in Sunday’s House of Councilors election, winning more seats than the Liberal Democratic Party.

He wants to discuss Iraq’s reconstruction and bilateral issues with U.S. government officials and lawmakers, they said.

Okada met with U.S. Ambassador to Japan Howard Baker on Tuesday and asked him for cooperation in arranging talks with key U.S. figures, they said.

He will visit the Democratic Party convention in Boston.

Although Okada hopes to meet with the presumptive Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry, the DPJ lawmakers said they were uncertain whether such a meeting could be arranged.

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