• Kyodo

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Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi said Friday it looks as if North Korea will soon return to the six-way nuclear talks.

“I had an impression from comments of fellow leaders in the (Group of Eight) meeting that North Korea will return to the six-party talks in the near future,” Koizumi said during a news conference in Edinburgh after the three-day summit at the Scottish resort of Gleneagles.

But Koizumi declined to elaborate on what exactly convinced him of the optimistic prospects. More than a year has passed since the talks were last held.

He urged Pyongyang to respond faithfully to the expected multilateral talks to resolve various issues of concern, alluding to the issue of its past abductions of Japanese, as well as its missile development and nuclear ambitions.

“I hope the six-party talks resume at an early date as President (George W.) Bush is also seeking a resolution through peaceful and diplomatic means,” Koizumi said.

During the summit, the leaders of Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia and the U.S. jointly urged North Korea to return promptly to the six-party talks and abandon its nuclear weapons-related programs, according to the chairman’s summary issued by British Prime Minister Tony Blair.

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