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Japan, North Korea Begin High-Level Talks

North Korea and Japan started two days of talks in Beijing Sunday, the first high-level diplomatic contact between the two countries in more than a year.

Officials say the issue of Japanese citizens abducted in the 1970s and 1980s by North Korean agents will be high on the agenda.

The Japanese delegation, led by Foreign Ministry diplomat Junichi Ihara, will demand that Pyongyang investigate the abduction issue.

North Korean Ambassador Song Il Ho said upon his arrival in Beijing Saturday that no agenda has been set for the talks with Tokyo.

North Korea admitted in 2001 to having kidnapped 13 Japanese citizens to teach their spies about Japanese culture. Five of them have been repatriated to Japan, but North Korea has claimed the remaining eight are dead.

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