Tuesday's high-level meeting between Japan and North Korea began with an exchange of strong words over Pyongyang's firing of two short-range missiles into the East Sea between the two nations over the weekend.
In his opening remarks, Japan's chief delegate to the talks, Junichi Ihara lodged a strong protest against the launch, calling it a violation of UN Security Council resolutions.
His North Korean counterpart Song Il-ho said Pyongyang has made it clear that they do not recognize the resolutions and insisted that the test-firings were safe and fully consistent with maintaining peace and stability in the region.
Despite the tensions, the two countries did agree to continue constructive talks on re-investigating the abduction of Japanese nationals by North Korean agents in the 1970s and '80s.
In a diplomatic breakthrough, the two countries struck a deal in Stockholm last month on reopening the abduction probe.
In return, Japan has promised to lift some sanctions and resume humanitarian aid to North Korea.
Pyongyang on Tuesday reportedly briefed Japan about the special investigative team it has assembled to look into the Japanese abductee issue.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is looking over the details and is expected to decide on Wednesday whether his government will lift partial sanctions on the communist state and if so, to what scale.
Yoo Li-an, Arirang News.
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