• Kyodo

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Japan urged North Korea on Wednesday to abandon all its nuclear ambitions, including an alleged secret uranium enrichment program, as delegates from six countries met for a second day of talks on the country’s atomic threat.

Signs of trouble have already started to emerge at the talks, however.

According to negotiation sources, North Korea denied having a secret uranium enrichment program, either for weapons or for peaceful purposes, in a bilateral meeting Tuesday with the U.S.

Japan’s chief delegate, Kenichiro Sasae, also underlined his government’s demand in his keynote remarks that Pyongyang shed more light on the past abduction of Japanese nationals by North Korean agents, in order to improve bilateral relations.

Delegates of the six parties — China, Japan, the two Koreas, Russia and the United States — were scheduled to make their keynote remarks and hold their first full-scale exchanges Wednesday on ways to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula.

The chief Japanese delegate called North Korea’s nuclear activities a threat to Northeast Asia and a “serious challenge” to the international nuclear nonproliferation regime, according to a summary of his keynote remarks distributed to reporters.

Japan “strongly hopes (North Korea) will accept the complete dismantlement of all its nuclear programs, including the uranium enrichment program,” said Sasae.

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