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N. Korea's FM reaffirms unwillingness to talk with Japan over abduction issue

March 29, 2024 - 20:51 By Yonhap
North Korean Foreign Minister Choe Son-hui (An image captured from footage of North Korea's Korean Central Television)

The North Korean foreign minister on Friday reaffirmed Pyongyang's stance that it does not have any intention to hold talks with Japan on the abduction issue, a day after Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida voiced willingness to push for a summit with the North.

Choe Son-hui made the remarks in a statement released by the North's official Korean Central News Agency, saying the issue "cannot be settled and has nothing to be solved."

"The DPRK has nothing to solve as regards the 'abduction issue' insisted by Japan and, moreover, it has neither the responsibility nor the will to make any effort for it," she said in the statement, referring to North Korea as its official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

On Thursday, Kishida expressed his intent to continue efforts to hold a summit with North Korea despite Pyongyang's recent refusal of all contact with Tokyo.

The remarks came two days after the sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un issued a statement refusing all contact with Japan after Tokyo took issue with the problem of Japanese abductees and the North's nuclear program.

The two countries have long been at odds over the issue of Japanese citizens abducted by North Korea in the 1970s and 80s to train spies in Japanese culture and language.

The North later allowed five of the abductees to visit their homeland and claimed eight others were dead, but Tokyo has dismissed the claim and vowed to secure their safe return.

"The DPRK-Japan dialogue is not a matter of concern to the DPRK. And the DPRK will not allow any attempt of Japan to contact the former," Choe said.

"The DPRK will always respond sharply to Japan's behavior of interfering with its exercise of sovereignty."