• Kyodo


An adviser to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe arrived in Pyongyang by air Tuesday.

The reason for Isao Iijima’s visit to the North was as yet unclear, but it is believe he may meet with senior officials of the ruling Workers’ Party of Korea and the government in a bid to improve bilateral relations.

Iijima was a top aide to ex-Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, who visited Pyongyang for talks with the late North Korean leader Kim Jong Il in September 2002 and May 2004.

Kim Chol Ho, vice director of the North Korean Foreign Ministry’s Asian Affairs Department, welcomed Iijima at Pyongyang airport.

Japan and North Korea resumed intergovernmental negotiations in last August after a four-year hiatus.

But the talks were suspended after the North in December carried out what some countries believe was a guised test of ballistic missile technology in violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions by launching a long-range rocket.

Japan and North Korea do not have diplomatic relations.

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