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Japan: Kim’s Mention of Return to Six-Party Talks Could Be Diplomatic Strategy

Japan: Kim’s Mention of Return to Six-Party Talks Could Be Diplomatic Strategy

Posted June. 20, 2005 03:01,   


The Japanese government showed a welcoming response to North Korea National Defense Committee Chairman Kim Jong Il’s mention of a “return to the six-party talks” in a meeting with Unification Minister Chung Dong-young, but also showed a prudent attitude to see exactly what Kim’s real intentions are at the time.

An official of the Japanese government noted that Japan will raise the North Korean nuclear issue and the “Kim and Chung meeting” as major items on the agenda at the summit between Korea and Japan, to be held on June 20.

On June 17, Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi said, “Kim’s statement could be a diplomatic strategy,” and added, “I think North Korea had better return to the six-party talks as soon as possible.”

Regarding Kim’s remarks, the acting secretary-general of Japan`s ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), Shinjo Abe, said, “It’s highly desirable, and I hope Kim makes a great decision by all means.”

Japanese media outlets reported that it was exceptional for the acting secretary-general Abe, a leading hard-liner toward North Korea in Japanese political circles, to make a friendly remark by using the title “Chairman” instead of “general secretary” that is the usual title used for Kim by the Japanese political world.

Meanwhile, the Yomiuri Shimbun pointed out that making use of the inter-Korean meeting, leader Kim tried to earn time against the “argument of referring the North’s nuclear issue to the U.N. Security Council” raised by the U.S. while preserving President Roh’s dignity, who remarked on his intention to peacefully resolve the North Korean nuclear issue at the Korea-U.S. summit.

Won-Jae Park parkwj@donga.com