Japan and North Korea finished their first day of normalization
talks on Wednesday in the Mongolian capital of Ulan Bator, with
both sides giving positive signs that talks may yield progress.
"Today, we were able to engage in through discussions," Japanese
envoy Yoshiki Mine told reporters after the first day talks.
"It was a meaningful exchange of views in order to deepen mutual
understanding," he said.
North Korean negotiator Song Il-ho said he was "happy to see
Ambassador Mine," who was recently put in charge of the talks, and
hoped for "serious achievements as the ambassador takes on this
important duty," according to Japanese public broadcaster NHK.
The two delegations discussed on the first day key issues
including Japan's reparation for its colonization of the Korean
Peninsula from 1910-1945, and North Korea's abduction of Japanese
citizens in the 1970s and 1980s.
Differences remained between the two sides during the talks, but
they reaffirmed that they would try to narrow gaps.
The Japan-North Korea panel is the last of the five working
groups setup under the six-party process, paving the way for a
plenary session of the next round of six-party talks.
(Xinhua News Agency September 6, 2007)