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Japan, N Korea to hold talks in China next week

The two nations agreed to meet in Beijing from February 4, following the previous round of bilateral talks in late December.

india Updated: Jan 27, 2006 08:52 IST

Japan and North Korea will hold talks next week in China amid an impasse over ending the communist state's nuclear ambitions, the foreign ministry said on Friday.

The two nations agreed to meet in Beijing from February 4, following the previous round of bilateral talks in late December in which they agreed to set up working groups to tackle contentious issues.

The three main topics are North Korea's nuclear and missile programmes, Pyongyang's past abductions of Japanese nationals and normalisation of diplomatic ties, the ministry said.

The talks are expected to last for a few days although it was not formally decided when they would end.

North Korea admitted in 2002 that it kidnapped Japanese citizens, mostly in the 1970s, to train the regime's spies.

The North declared the emotional issue settled after repatriating five kidnap victims, but Tokyo insists at least eight other Japanese are alive and being kept hidden because they know too many secrets about the regime.

Japan is also expected to urge North Korea to return to six-nation talks on its nuclear programme, which involve China, Russia, South Korea and the United States.

The now-suspended meetings are aimed at persuading North Korea to give up its nuclear ambitions in return for aid and energy assistance.

First Published: Jan 27, 2006 08:52 IST