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PYONGYANG (Kyodo) North Korea has criticized Prime Minister Naoto Kan for issuing an apology Tuesday only to South Korea over Japan’s 1910-1945 colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula.

“We can only judge that Japan wants to keep the division of the peninsula,” a North Korean official in charge of Japanese affairs said Tuesday evening. “Besides, Japan has failed to settle the past with our country even 65 years after the end of World War II.”

Kan expressed deep regret over the suffering Japan inflicted on Korean people during its colonial rule in a statement he issued Tuesday ahead of the Aug. 29 centenary of Japan’s annexation of the peninsula.

The statement, however, did not touch on North Korea. Japan and the North have no diplomatic relations.

Stressing that Japan’s colonial rule covered the whole Korean Peninsula, another North Korean official said Pyongyang “has the right to demand that Japan settle issues stemming from its colonial rule.” He urged Japan to “take action as early as possible to settle the past” with North Korea.

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