Following a dispute over the "abduction of Japanese citizens",
the first diplomatic talks between Japan and North Korea in over a
year were brought back from the brink on Wednesday evening.
The spat overshadowed the talks, contrasting with the positive
note emanating from a meeting between US and North Korean officials
on Monday in New York.
The two rounds of talks happened following the start of a six-party deal which would see North Korea
cease pursuing a nuclear program in exchange for aid and diplomatic
Japanese delegation head Koichi Haraguchi announced to gathered
press that the meeting at the North Korean embassy in Hanoi would
focus on the abductions and normalizing diplomatic ties.
Haraguchi's statement followed reports from a Japanese diplomat
that an afternoon meeting had crumbled on Wednesday following the
North Korea delegation being angered by discussion on "abductions
of Japanese citizens" in the 1970s and 80s.
The current talks are part of the agreement reached last month
between North Korea, South Korea, the United States, Russia, Japan
and China as they vie to free the Korean Peninsula from any nuclear
The Hanoi talks are a corner stone of the five sets of
working-group meetings this week.
The talks began with a feeling of hopefulness, with Haraguchi
confirming that Japan will work towards normalizing ties by
resolving disputes arousing from Japan's warmongering past, the
aforementioned abductions and North Korea's weapons programs.
His counterpart Song Il-ho also pledged to resolve the nuclear
dispute, and would be eager to normalize ties should Japan atone
for its colonization of the Korean Peninsula from 1910-1945.
(China Daily via agencies March 8, 2007)