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Kim Jong-il Apologizing for Kidnapping of Japanese

Posted September. 17, 2002 23:01,   


Kim Jong-il, North Korea’s National Defense Commission Chairman, and Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi held a summit meeting at Baekhwawon State Guest House on Tuesday, in which the two leaders agreed to resume talks in order to normalize the diplomatic relations of the two nations.

At the two rounds of talks, which were held in the morning and the afternoon on that day, they discussed issues like Japan’s apology for the ruling of the Korean Peninsula, the kidnapping of Japanese people and North Korea’s missiles, and then they issued a joint statement including points on which they reached agreement.

In regard to the kidnapping issue, one of the pending issues for Japan, it confirmed that four out of the 11 Japanese people suspected of having abducted other Japanese people to North Korea are still alive and five of them already died.

Chairman Kim said to the Japanese prime minister, “Frankly, I would like to apologize for the issue, and I think it is very sad. We already punished those responsible for the incident, and I will make sure that such an incident will not occur in the future.”

As for the issue of putting behind the past of Japan’s colonial ruling of Korea, an outstanding question for North Korea, Mr. Koizumi was reported to make an apology, based on the 1995 apology statement made by Tomiichi Murayama, then prime minister of Japan. The two sides also agreed that according to the 1965 Agreement on the Settlement of Problems Concerning Property and Claims between South Korea and Japan, Tokyo and Pyongyang will abandon the compensation claims, and Instead, Japan will give economic support to North Korea.

In addition to these issues, they also had an intensive discussion on whether the North would extend the freezing period of test-firing its missiles, which is supposed to end by the end of next year.

In the summit, Vice Foreign Minister Kang Sok-ju of North Korea, Japan’s Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Shinzo Abe, Dishiyuki Dakano with Japanese Foreign Ministry and Hitoshi Danaka, head of Japanese Foreign Ministry’s Asian and Oceanic affairs Bureau sat with the two leaders.

Mr. Koizumi arrived at Sunan Airport in Pyongyang around 9 a.m. by the plain for Japanese government’s use, and after completing the summit, he returned home to Haneda Airport around 10 p.m.

The two nations have not had any contacts since they had the 11th meeting for the normalization of the relations in October 2000. So a lot of progress in the normalization talks are expected given they have agreed on the resumption of the talks.

Young-Ee Lee yes202@donga.com