News

Japan Says North Korea Agrees to 3 Sets of Teams for Talks

Japanese officials say two days of talks with their North Korean counterparts in Beijing have led to a breakthrough concerning unresolved issues between the countries.

Japan says North Korea agreed Sunday to discuss several outstanding issues in parallel, something Japanese negotiators had requested.

The Japanese chief delegate Akitaka Saiki, speaking to reporters shortly after two days of discussions in Beijing ended, says the new talks will begin in late January.

Mr. Saiki says Japan and North Korea will establish several working groups. One will focus on the communist state's abductions of Japanese nationals and another will discuss North Korea's nuclear weapons and missile programs. A third group will negotiate establishing diplomatic relations between the two countries - something Pyongyang has desired.

He also says that North Korea told Japan it will act in a sincere manner on the issue of the abductees and other unresolved bilateral matters.

Japan has insisted that before diplomatic ties can be established, North Korea must give a full accounting of the fate of Japanese citizens it has acknowledged kidnapping during the Cold War.

Pyongyang admits to kidnapping 13 people, and allowed five to return to Japan a few years ago. The rest, North Korea says, are dead. However, Japanese officials have not yet received what they consider proof about the fate of the remaining eight. Many Japanese citizens also think that North Korea may have snatched many more people over the years.

Talks on normalizing relations have been stalled for more than three years. Pyongyang has also repeatedly insisted that, for normal relations, Tokyo must pay compensation to the communist state for Japan's 35-year colonization of the Korean peninsula, which ended in 1945.

In addition to the promise of talking with Japanese officials about its nuclear weapons programs, North Korea is engaged in multilateral negotiations on the issue. But no date has been set for a sixth round after the negotiations recessed last month in Beijing.

Pyongyang has said it would not return to the nuclear talks unless the United States ends economic sanctions imposed on some North Korean businesses.

Those sanctions were imposed after Washington accused North Korea of counterfeiting of U.S. currency, money laundering and other illegal activities.

 


Steve Herman

A veteran journalist, Steve Herman is VOA's Southeast Asia Bureau Chief and Correspondent, based in Bangkok.

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs