North Korea Open to Talks with Japan if Tokyo Changes Attitude

JABAR EKSPRES – North Korea’s deputy foreign minister said Pyongyang is willing to hold high-level talks with Tokyo if Japan shows a change of attitude on issues such as the abduction of Japanese citizens by North Korea, official North Korean media reported.

The statement by North Korean Deputy Foreign Minister Pak Sang Gil, published by the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on Monday (29/5), comes after Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida recently expressed a desire to start high-level talks with Pyongyang to arrange a meeting with Leader Kim Jong Un.

According to KCNA, Pak said “there is no reason for the DPRK and Japan not to meet” if Tokyo is not “shackled by the past and seeks a way out to improve relations.”

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DPRK stands for the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the North’s official name.

The vice foreign minister noted that Japan “demanded a settlement on the abduction issue,” which he claimed “has been resolved.”

Pak argued Kishida has consistently expressed a desire for a “no preconditions” meeting after she took office, but added, “we don’t know what she really wants out of it.”

He added that Japan should demonstrate its willingness to resolve a number of issues through concrete actions rather than mere words.

Following the KCNA report, Kishida reiterated his willingness to engage in talks with North Korea, saying he himself tried to tackle the abduction issue with the determination to face it head-on and make specific progress.

Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno has not commented in a press briefing, fearing it could affect future negotiations.

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