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North Korea, Japan agree to resume government talks Updated: 2014-03-21 14:17:52 KST

North Korea, Japan agree to resume government talks
Officials from North Korea and Japan will work to resume high-level government talks, after a hiatus of over one year.
The agreement came during informal talks between Keiichi Ono -- director of the Northeast Asia Division at the Japanese foreign ministry and Ryu Song-il -- head of Japanese affairs division at the North Korean foreign ministry, on the sidelines of the Red Cross talks in China's northeastern city of Shenyang.

In a press conference after the meetings, Ono said both sides were in accordance in restarting the talks, but he didn't mention a date.
The Japanese official said the two sides will arrange further details through their embassies in Beijing.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe says he wants talks to resume as soon as possible.

"The coming government-level talks between Japan and North Korea have been frozen since November 2012. They haven't taken place for quite some time. I want to restart the talks as quickly as possible and to expedite the laying of the ground-work to make the talks happen."

The government-level talks, when they happen, will be the first between North Korea and Japan since November 2012, when talks were scrapped after Pyongyang launched a long-range rocket.
They will also mark the first since North Korean leader Kim Jong-un assumed power and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe took office.
The talks will likely cover a range of issues including North Korea's nuclear and missile programs, and the issue of Japanese citizens abducted decades ago.
Pyongyang is also expected to demand Tokyo to ease sanctions in return.
Kim Min-ji, Arirang News.
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