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Asia

 

Japan PM may visit North Korea in kidnap probe

Published on Jun 3, 2014 1:30 PM
 
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (above) may visit North Korea, Japan said, days after announcing a deal to re-open the probe into Japanese citizens kidnapped by spies in the Cold War.  -- ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG

TOKYO (AFP) - Prime Minister Shinzo Abe may visit North Korea, Japan said on Tuesday, days after announcing a deal to re-open the probe into Japanese citizens kidnapped by spies in the Cold War.

Any such visit would be controversial, especially in Seoul and Washington, which have led the charge to further isolate Pyongyang over its ballistic missile and nuclear programmes.

Tokyo and Pyongyang have no formal diplomatic ties, partially because of what Japan says is the North's unwillingness to come clean over the abductions in the 1970s and 1980s. But in a breakthrough last week, they said an investigation into the fate of missing Japanese would be re-opened. In exchange, Japan would ease some of the unilateral sanctions it has imposed on the isolated state.

"We must think constantly what would be the most effective response and method in order to bring results," Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida told a parliamentary committee. "In doing so, we will consider (Abe's) making a visit to North Korea," he said, according to Jiji Press news agency.

 
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