Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera said Friday that North Korea’s latest short-range missile launch will not prevent the two countries from holding talks next week on the abduction issue.
“I don’t think there is a particular link between them,” Onodera told a news conference when asked if North Korea’s move the previous day will affect Tuesday’s bilateral meeting in Beijing.
“Intergovernmental talks (on the abduction issue) just move on,” he said. “I’m aware of reports that North Korea fired three short-range rockets yesterday, but the projectiles have not affected the security of Japan.”
According to South Korea’s Defense Ministry, North Korea on Thursday fired short-range missiles some 190 km off its east coast from a site near the port city and naval base of Wonsan.
Pyongyang’s official Korean Central News Agency reported Friday that the rockets successfully tested under the guidance of leader Kim Jong Un were “newly developed cutting-edge ultra-precision tactical guided missiles.”
In Tuesday’s meeting with Japan, North Korea is expected to disclose the names of those who will comprise the special unit tasked with investigating the Japanese who were abducted by North Korean agents in the 1970s and ’80s.
The two countries last month agreed that North Korea will “conduct a comprehensive and full-scale survey for the final settlement of all issues related to Japanese” in exchange for the lifting of some of Japan’s unilateral sanctions.