Japan says not right time for 6-way talks on N Korea

Japan told China that it is not appropriate to hold six-party talks on North Korea`s nuclear programs at the present moment in the wake of the North`s deadly shelling of a South Korean island.

Last Updated: Dec 01, 2010, 15:15 PM IST

Tokyo: Japan told China that it is not
appropriate to hold six-party talks on North Korea`s nuclear
programs at the present moment in the wake of the North`s
deadly shelling of a South Korean island near the two Koreas`
contested western sea border last week, a Japanese nuclear
envoy said.

After meeting in Beijing with Wu Dawei yesterday, China`s
special representative for Korean Peninsula affairs, Akitaka
Saiki, director general of the Japanese Foreign Ministry`s
Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau, told reporters in Tokyo, "I
said it is not appropriate to hold (a six-party meeting) at
this timing."

During the meeting, Wu sought Tokyo`s support for a
Chinese proposal to convene an emergency meeting of the heads
of delegations to the six-party talks aimed at containing
Pyongyang`s nuclear ambitions to defuse the current tension,
according to Saiki.

Japanese Foreign Minister Seiji Maehara also expressed a
negative view about the proposed emergency meeting earlier
yesterday, saying that dialogue "should not be held just for
the sake of talking."

"Maehara told a news conference he had instructed Saiki
to convey to China Tokyo`s basic stance that progress in North
Korea`s denuclearisation efforts must be made before the
restart of the six-way talks.

The Japanese foreign minister indicated it would be
awkward to agree to the resumption of the six-party talks
following the North`s disclosure of its uranium enrichment
program and its "indiscriminate shelling" of the inhabited
South Korean island.
But Maehara said Japan will "keep open the door for
dialogue," adding that he had told Saiki to exchange views
frankly with Wu to "find a path toward solving" issues
concerning North Korea.

Choe Thae Bok, an aide to North Korean leader Kim Jong
Il, arrived in Beijing for talks with Chinese officials
yesterday, making him the first senior North Korean official
to visit China since the Nov 23 artillery barrage, which killed four South Koreans.
While South Korea, the United States and Japan have shown
reluctance to accept such a proposal from China, citing North
Korea`s provocative behavior, Beijing has called for dialogue
among regional powers in an effort to ease tensions on the
peninsula, fueled again by a major US-South Korea naval
exercise in the Yellow Sea that began Sunday for a four-day
run.

Bureau Report