North Korea warns Japan off meddling

GENEVA • North Korea has again warned Japan not to meddle in its denuclearisation issue, saying Tokyo has nothing to do with the North's recent summit agreements with South Korea and the United States, Yonhap news agency reported.

Mr Ju Yong Chol, a North Korean diplomat stationed in Geneva, said at the United Nations-sponsored Conference on Disarmament on Tuesday that Japan should refrain from intervening in the denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula, because it is not a signatory to the Panmunjom Declaration between the two Koreas or the North's summit agreement with the US.

He made the remarks after Japan's mission to Geneva urged North Korea at the same conference to faithfully implement its summit agreements, including its denuclearisation pledge, Yonhap reported yesterday.

The Japanese mission also stressed closer cooperation with South Korea and the US over the North's denuclearisation.

During the conference, Austria, Australia, Argentina and other countries repeatedly called for denuclearisation efforts by North Korea, but Mr Ju said those calls cannot be tolerated, citing his country's recent summit agreements.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said in a TV programme on June 16 that he was seeking a summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, and that his country would finance the North's denuclearisation costs, as long as the abduction issue is resolved.

The emotive issue of Japanese citizens abducted in the 1970s and 1980s to help Pyongyang train its spies has long soured already strained relations between Tokyo and Pyongyang.

Pyongyang's media responded to Mr Abe's overture by saying Japan should instead prioritise compensation linked to its imperial past and refrain from resorting to petty tricks.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 28, 2018, with the headline 'N. Korea warns Japan off meddling'. Print Edition | Subscribe