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Japan, North Korea to resume talks Nov 3 in Beijing
Updated: 2005-10-26 17:13

Japan and North Korea will resume bilateral talks on November 3 in Beijing following a one-year suspension, Japanese Foreign Minister Nobutaka Machimura said.

Bilateral talks at government level have been held up since late last year when Japan accused North Korea of lying over the fate of Japanese kidnapped by Pyongyang agents.

But Japanese and North Korean delegates agreed to resume talks in their joint effort to take steps to normalize relations when they met on the sidelines of talks in Beijing on the North's nuclear program last month.

"Japan and North Korea will hold bilateral talks on November 3 in Beijing," Machimura told a news conference Wednesday.

North Korea admitted in 2002 that its agents kidnapped Japanese in the 1970s and 1980s to train North Korean spies in Japanese language and culture.

The North declared the issue settled after repatriating five kidnap victims along with their families following trips by Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi to Pyongyang in 2002 and 2004.

The North said, to Japan's skepticism, that another eight kidnap victims were dead.

Koizumi, who was re-elected last month in a landslide, has invested political capital in engaging the North and has said he wants to establish diplomatic relations by the time he leaves office in September 2006.

He has resisted calls within his party and from families of kidnap victims to impose economic sanctions to force North Korea to come clean on the kidnappings.

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