Japan has no plans now to hold direct talks with North Korea, Foreign Minister Taro Aso said Thursday despite Pyongyang’s announcement the previous day that it will return to the six-party talks on its nuclear threat.
“As the situation now stands, Japan and North Korea are unlikely to hold direct talks,” Aso told reporters, indicating no bilateral talks will take place on the sidelines of the multilateral talks.
Aso said Japan will “not immediately change or ease sanctions imposed on North Korea simply because the six-party talks will be resumed.”
The government welcomes North Korea’s return to the talks with guarded optimism. Japanese officials say it is not enough for North Korea to merely return to the talks and noted it should take concrete action to scrap its nuclear arms program.
The talks have been stalled since the six parties — North and South Korea, the United States, China, Japan and Russia — met last November.
While the talks were stalled, North Korea test-fired missiles July 5 and conducted its first underground nuclear test Oct. 9. This led Japan to impose its own sanctions on North Korea. Cautious approach LONDON – Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s special adviser on national security, Yuriko Koike, called Wednesday for a cautious approach toward North Korea’s nuclear threat while welcoming Pyongyang’s recent announcement that it will return to the stalled six-nation talks on ending that threat.
Koike shared the view with Nigel Sheinwald, a foreign policy adviser for British Prime Minister Tony Blair, during their meeting in London, she told reporters later.
Koike said Japan welcomes North Korea’s return to the six-party talks, but also added it is necessary to cautiously deal with North Korea while looking at the contents of future negotiations.
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