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Pyongyang, Tokyo contact to hold talks around Seoul-Beijing summit

Pyongyang, Tokyo contact to hold talks around Seoul-Beijing summit

Posted June. 26, 2014 05:09,   


Japan and North Korea are seeking to have a contact soon in an apparent move to steal the spotlight from the South Korea-China summit to be held in early July, analysts say.

Japanese broadcaster TBS reported Wednesday that Tokyo and Pyongyang are in the final stage of agreeing to hold director-general-level talks in China on July 1 and 2. The planned talks would be the first official contact between the two countries after they agreed in Sweden late last month to ease sanctions on the North and re-investigate the North`s abductions of Japanese citizens.

"(North Korea and Japan) also studied ways to hold a North Korea-China contact in Shenyang, Liaoning Province in late June, but it seems that the schedule has been changed," a source in Beijing said. "The venue will likely be Beijing."

At the planned talks, Japan plans to receive the North`s briefing on the organization of a special investigation committee for the abduction issue and explain Tokyo`s position. If Tokyo finds the committee appropriately organized, it plans to lift some of its own sanctions on the North in synch with the beginning of the probe.

Meanwhile, nine Japanese citizens with family members buried in North Korea arrived in Beijing on Wednesday en route to the North to visit the graves. They will fly to Pyongyang by the North`s Koryo Air today. They will stay in the North until July 3 and return to Japan via Beijing on July 5. Some 60 Japanese reporters will also visit the North with them.

The talks and grave visits coincide with Chinese President Xi Jinping`s visit to Seoul on July 3 and 4. Considering the power structure among the four countries, some observers suspect that Japan`s selection of the timing was politically motivated.

Japan is extending an olive branch to the North while confronting South Korea and China over history and territorial issues. North Korea is accepting Japan`s demands in order to send a warning to China, which is joining North Korea sanctions, and make a breakthrough in Pyongyang`s diplomatic isolation.

Another source in Beijing said, "As the situation in Northeast Asia is changing to North Korea and Japan versus South Korea and China at least in the short term, it is hard to say that each side`s diplomatic schedules are being carried out purely without targeting the opposing side."