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    » 08/29/2012, 00.00

    CHINA - JAPAN - N KOREA

    Beijing gets Tokyo and Pyongyang to talk, seeks truce with Japan

    Chen Weijun

    For the first time in four years, the governments of Japan and north Korea held talks in Beijing, formally on issues relating to Japan's occupation of the Korean Peninsula, informally on Pyongyang's nuclear programme. Beijing, which has accepted Japan's truce offer over the Diayou/Senkaku, was behind the meeting.

    Beijing (AsiaNews) - Japanese and North Korean government representatives held talks for first time in four years at a meeting sponsored by China. The formal reason for the event is the repatriation of the remains of Japanese who died during World War Two in the northern part of the Korean Peninsula, which Pyongyang has refused to repatriate until now. North Korea's nuclear programme and tensions in East Asia will also be on the table.

    Some analysts expect the Japanese to push also for information about Japanese nationals abducted by North Korea to use as trainers in various fields, like technology and gastronomy. So far, the Stalinist regime has sent back five people, claiming that all the others were dead. Tokyo however wants more information on the matter.

    For Japan, the meeting is "preparatory" but could lead to further developments. "We have been working based on the principle of settling the unfortunate past and on restoring normal relations," Japan's chief cabinet secretary Osamu Fujimura said ahead of the talks.

    A diplomatic war between the Communist regime and Japan has continued since the end of Japanese occupation of Korea in 1945. Pyongyang's nuclear programme has only made matters worse. North Korean exercises in the waters off the Japanese Archipelago repeatedly angered the government in Tokyo, which issued an ultimatum in 2008.

    Today's talks are the work of Beijing. For China, North Korea's last friend since the collapse of the Soviet union, Pyongyang's military adventurism and provocations have become too much.

    Since the death of the 'dear leader' Kim Jong-il and the takeover by his son, Kim Jong-un, China has urged North Korean leaders to open up their economy to the market and introduce social reforms.

    On the issue of the Diaoyu Islands, which the Japanese call Senkaku, Beijing appears willing to take a step back to reduce tensions.

    Japan's prime minister sent a senior diplomat to Beijing yesterday with a personal letter for President Hu Jintao in what appears to be a bid to ease tensions over their territorial dispute in the East China Sea. In response, China stopped a violent anti-Japanese demonstration in the city of Dondang.

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    See also

    24/07/2008 NORTH KOREA
    For Rice talks with Pyongyang on nuclear issue “positive”
    In her first meeting with North Korea’s foreign minister US secretary of state reiterates the need for verification of the atomic disarmament process.

    13/02/2007 CHINA – NORTH KOREA
    “Nearly final” deal in Pyongyang nuclear talks
    Diplomatic sources say the six-party talks under way in Beijing have already produced an accord that will be signed today. It provides for large oil supplies in exchange for the closure of nuclear reactors. Some of those involved have criticized the draft accord.

    28/11/2006 CHINA – NORTH KOREA
    A year later Kim Jong-il's negotiator is back in Beijing
    US, Russian, South Korean and Japanese representatives are already in the Chinese capital. Tokyo rules out multilateral dialogue whilst Washington sees direct talks with Pyongyang possible.

    22/10/2008 NORTH KOREA –JAPAN
    Pyongyang wants Japan removed from nuclear talks
    A North Korean newspaper accuses the Japanese of creating “trouble” for the six-nation nuclear talks. Tokyo wants information about its missing citizens abducted by North Korea. For South Korean president, Kim Jong-il is still in charge despite rumours about his health.

    19/07/2006 NORTH KOREA
    Pyongyang orders mobilisation
    US-South Korean proposal for five-way talks on North Korea's nuclear programme depends on what the Chinese decide.



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