DATE=3/22/2000 TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT TITLE=JAPAN - NORKOR TALKS (L) NUMBER=2-260471 BYLINE=AMY BICKERS DATELINE=TOKYO INTERNET=YES CONTENT= VOICED AT: 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 ties. 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 Beijing. 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. (SIGNED) NEB/AB/RAE 22-Mar-2000 08:34 AM EDT (22-Mar-2000 1334 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .
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