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Koizumi to Visit North Korea Today

Posted May. 21, 2004 22:24,   


Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi will pay a one-day visit to Pyongyang on May 22 for a summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-il.

The summit will be the prime minister’s first since his visit in September 2002. The Japanese prime minister will meet with Kim shortly after his arrival in Pyongyang, leaving Tokyo on Saturday morning via the Japanese government plane. Japanese media predicted that the morning session would determine the resumption of the summit after luncheon.

Prime Minister Koizumi hopes to return to Japan with all eight Japanese abductees still held in North Korea. The visit is expected to reaffirm the validity of the “Pyongyang Declaration” signed in 2002 and show Japan’s willingness to normalize diplomatic ties between the two countries.

The Japanese government reportedly will provide humanitarian aid such as food if North Korea promises to release the kidnapped and find out the whereabouts of the missing abductees. Prime Minister Koizumi is expected to urge North Korea to completely abandon its nuclear development plan and extend a moratorium on missile testing.

Hun-Joo Cho hanscho@donga.com