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“North Korea Hinted at its Return to the NPT this April, then Revoked”

“North Korea Hinted at its Return to the NPT this April, then Revoked”

Posted December. 16, 2004 22:50,   


The Asahi Daily reported, quoting an informed Japanese government source, yesterday that North Korea hinted that it was willing to return to the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) this April during the prior consultation process for the North Korea-Japan summit. Vice Director Song Il Ho, who is in charge of Japanese affairs in North Korea’s Foreign Affairs Office, showed a positive position while consulting on the repatriation issue of Japanese abductees to North Korea with former Liberal Democratic Party Vice President (current aide to prime minister) Yamasaki Daku in China at the beginning of this April, saying, “It is worth reviewing. I will discuss the matter with my seniors.”

The newspaper conveyed, however, that North Korea abruptly changed its attitude regarding its return to the NPT after Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi’s second visit to North Korea was decided in the middle of May.

When Vice President Yamasaki suggested to Vice Director Song just before the summit, “Shouldn’t we include North Korea’s intention to return to the NPT somehow (in the summit agreement)?” Song supposedly refused, “We have made enough concessions already.”

Won-Jae Park parkwj@donga.com