• Kyodo

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Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi reiterated caution Saturday about Tokyo imposing economic sanctions on North Korea and called for continued efforts to resolve nuclear, abduction and other bilateral issues through dialogue.

In a news conference to wrap up his work at the summit of the Asia-Europe Meeting, Koizumi also urged Myanmar to make greater strides toward democracy.

He said he hopes to meet with a Chinese leader next month and that ASEM members will support Japan’s bid for a permanent U.N. Security Council seat.

“Calls for economic sanctions (on North Korea) are strong in Japan, but we also have to consider if economic sanctions are effective,” Koizumi said. “I would like to work with patience to get North Korea to respond sincerely” to pending issues.

The Myanmar issue overshadowed the three-day summit as it was made a member of ASEM. Koizumi said he does not believe that refusing Myanmar admission would have helped promote democracy there.

“I understand the concern that the democratization has been insufficient, but I doubt if excluding Myanmar will lead to its democratization,” Koizumi said.

“Japan has limited its assistance to humanitarian purposes and will continue to urge Myanmar to strive to democratize,” he said. “I think the representative of Myanmar took seriously the other nations’ concerns expressed in this ASEM.”

On China, Koizumi said, “I’m looking forward to attending a Japan-China summit.”

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