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Japan, US Against Lifting North Korea Sanctions
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Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Aso and visiting senior US diplomats agreed on Monday that North Korea should abandon all nuclear programs in line with UN resolutions and that UN and Japanese sanctions would remain.

The agreement was reached at a meeting between Nicholas Burns, US Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs; Robert Joseph, Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security, and Aso.

Japan and the US agreed that Security Council Resolution 1718 "must be fully and effectively implemented" until North Korea "meets all of the demands of the Security Council," Joseph was quoted as saying by Kyodo News.

Aso said the two nations agreed that they would not accept North Korea as "a nuclear state" and that sanctions in line with the resolution as well as Japan's own sanctions "would not be relaxed" even if six-party talks are resumed.

The foreign minister said he would propose holding five-nation talks with his counterparts from the US, South Korea, China and Russia to discuss North Korea's nuclear program on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum summit in Hanoi next week.

The North Korean nuclear test early last month gave rise to UN condemnation and sanctions. Japan had already imposed its own sweeping sanctions before the test.

Pyongyang agreed on November 1 to return to the negotiating table on the understanding that the issue of lifting US financial sanctions against it would be discussed and settled within the framework of the six-party talks.

The six-party Korean nuclear talks involve China, Russia, the US, Japan, and North and South Korea.

(Xinhua News Agency November 7, 2006)

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