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N. Korea-Japan Talks Clarify Positions
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Although Japan and North Korea came to no agreement during their talks aiming to normalize their ties, which concluded in Hanoi yesterday morning, the meetings aided both sides to comprehend the other's positions, said a Japanese Foreign Ministry official.


"We couldn't make any progress," the official said at a press briefing at the Embassy of Japan in the Vietnamese capital yesterday afternoon, asking for his name and title to be undisclosed.


An anonymous source at the Japanese embassy said that "we agreed that both governments must discuss various issues, including the two issues," referring to Japan's colonial past in Korea and outstanding issues of common concerns.


The two issues dominated the two-day meetings, he said, adding that "Japan insists that the abduction is the main issue."


The official addressed North Korea's claim that all had been done in terms of the abduction issue, categorizing their position as "unacceptable."


The two sides originally agreed to four meetings spread over two days from March 7 to 8 at the two countries' embassies in Hanoi.


After the first meeting on Wednesday morning at the Japanese embassy, North Korea announced that the afternoon meeting had been cancelled. Thursday saw only a 40-minute session in the morning on normalizing bilateral ties.


(Xinhua News Agency March 9, 2007)

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