Japan rejects N Korea call to stay away from talks

North Korea urged Japan to leave the six-way talks, saying that Tokyo amounted to nothing more than a state of the US, which is part of the negotiations.

india Updated: Nov 06, 2006 12:47 IST

Japan on Monday said it would take part in the next round of six-nation talks on ending North Korea's nuclear programme, rejecting Pyongyang's call for Tokyo to stay away.

"There is absolutely no change to Japan's stance," Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told reporters.

North Korea on Saturday urged Japan to leave the six-way talks, saying that Tokyo amounted to nothing more than a state of the United States, which is part of the negotiations.

A North Korean foreign ministry spokesman called Japanese leaders "political imbeciles" for saying they would not regard Pyongyang as a nuclear power despite its October 9 nuclear test.

But government spokesman Yasuhisa Shiozaki said Japan still refused to see North Korea's nuclear weapons as a fait accompli.

"There is no way we will let them return to the process as a nuclear power," the chief cabinet secretary told a news conference.

"Japan is in total agreement with others to continue to take part in six-party talks to discuss North Korea's nuclear problem. There is no change to that," he said.

The negotiations, which began in 2003 in Beijing, are aimed at persuading North Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons programme in exchange for economic incentives and security guarantees.

Japan would likely be asked to help bankroll any potential deal reached during the six-nation talks.

First Published: Nov 06, 2006 12:47 IST