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Japan rebukes North Korea over missile launch

Published on Jul 1, 2014 2:25 PM

BEIJING (AFP) - Talks between Tokyo and Pyongyang on Japanese citzens abducted during the Cold War opened on Tuesday in Beijing with Tokyo's envoys giving their North Korean hosts a diplomatic rebuke over missile launches.

Sunday's test launch of two short-range Scud missiles was "extremely regrettable", foreign ministry official Junichi Ihara, the head of Japan's delegation, told his North Korean counterpart Song Il Ho.

At the start of talks at North Korea's embassy in the Chinese capital, Ihara stressed the missile launch was "incompatible" with the substance of previous North Korean commitments made to Japan and to agreements at Six-Party nuclear talks.

Ihara called on the nuclear-armed North not to repeat the launches, and to respond to the demands of the international community, but Song defended Pyongyang's actions. "The rocket launch... was carried out smoothly without having the slightest impact, not only on regional peace and security but on international navigation order and ecological environment," he said.

This undated picture released from North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency on June 30, 2014 shows North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un (right) observing a tactical rocket launch by the Korean People's Army Strategic Force at an undisclosed place in North Korea. Tokyo rebuked Pyongyang over the missile launches as talks between the two countries over Japanese citizens abducted by North Korea opened on Tuesday, July 1, 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP
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