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North Korea has warned that it may suspend the governmental talks with Japan, saying that the negotiations are facing difficulties. This is clearly Pyongyang’s reaction to Tokyo’s decision at the end of March to extend its trade embargo and other unilateral sanctions for two years, as well as to the police raid on the home of the head of pro-Pyongyang General Association of Korean Residents in Japan, or Chongryon, in connection with alleged smuggling of matsutake mushrooms from the reclusive state. North Korea has also accused Japan of “internationalizing” the issue of its abduction of Japanese nationals in the 1970s and 1980s by having the U.N. Human Rights Council adopt a resolution criticizing the country’s human rights situation.

The warning about a possible cessation of the talks is a diplomatic tactic to sway Japan. Pyongyang has often repeated this kind of tactic to get concessions from the other side of negotiations, including South Korea and the United States. Tokyo should respond to Pyongyang’s latest move in a cool-headed manner.

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