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Japan Lists Abduction Top Priority in Talks with N Korea

Senior Japanese government officials said Tuesday the settlement of abduction issue is the prerequisite for normalizing diplomatic relations with North Korea.


"Prior to pressing forward with the negotiation for normalizing diplomatic relations, the resolution of abduction issue is extremely important to Japan. It ranks No.1," Chief Cabinet Minister Shinzo Abe said at a press conference. "If there is no progress toward resolving this issue, there will be no progress on other issues."


"We believe that we should normalize diplomatic ties with North Korea as (it is) our neighboring country," Kyodo News quoted Foreign Minister Taro Aso as saying at a separate press conference.


"But there are prerequisites to this, and these are the resolution of abduction, nuclear and missile issues," Aso said.


Japan has been pressing North Korea to provide information about the abducted Japanese citizens, whom, North Korea said, had died or never entered.


The two sides reopened the bilateral talks last week after one-year-long break.


(Xinhua News Agency November 8, 2005)


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