TITLE=JAPAN - NORKOR TALKS (L)
INTRO: Japan says talks about establishing normal
ties with North Korea are to be held in early April.
As Amy Bickers reports from Japan's capital, they are
the first such talks between Tokyo and Pyonyang in
more than seven years.
TEXT: Japan's foreign ministry says Tokyo and
Pyongyang have agreed on a timetable for the first
round of talks towards re-establishing diplomatic
The main topics will include North Korea's need for
aid and Japan's concerns about missile development in
the communist nation.
Tokyo is also expected to raise the issue of 10
Japanese citizens it believes North Korean agents
abducted in the 1970's and 1980's.
The meetings are to take place from April fourth to
April eighth in the North Korean capital. The two
governments had been working toward setting a date for
the talks since March seventh, when they agreed to
reopen the dialogue that stalled in 1992.
Japanese officials warn that rapid progress is
unlikely, and expect the talks to last several years.
After next month's meeting in Pyongyang, a second
round is planned for Tokyo, and a third possibly in
Japan's foreign minister Yohei Kono, will meet Sunday
with his South Korean counterpart, Lee Jong-binn, to
coordinate the two countries' North Korea policies.
Analysts say Tokyo wants to mirror Washington and
Seoul in slowly improving relations with North Korea.
22-Mar-2000 08:34 AM EDT (22-Mar-2000 1334 UTC)
Source: Voice of America
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