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Japan, N. Korea to resume talks next week in China: officials

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Published : 2014-03-13 19:23
Updated : 2014-03-13 19:24

Japan and North Korean government and Red Cross officials will resume talks next week in China, after holding their first meeting since 2012 earlier this month, officials said Thursday.

The upcoming talks, scheduled for March 19 and 20 in the northern Chinese city of Shenyang, will draw foreign ministry officials from the two countries as well as senior members of their Red Cross societies.

They will discuss on-and-off visits by Japanese nationals to the graves of family members who died in North Korea decades ago or missions to collect their remains, Japanese Red Cross officials said.

Japan's brutal colonisation of the Korean peninsula from 1910-45 is a source of friction between the two countries, which do not have formal diplomatic relations.

Another thorny issue between Tokyo and Pyongyang is the fate of Japanese citizens who were kidnapped by North Korean agents in the 1970s and 80s to train its spies.

It is not clear if government officials will discuss the abduction issue at the talks later this month.

The two countries held a meeting on March 3 in what Pyongyang called a "productive" dialogue.

Officials from the two Red Cross societies had last met in August 2012 and that meeting led to talks by government officials in November of that year.

They had planned to meet again in December 2012 but the plan was cancelled after Pyongyang announced its plan to launch a long-range missile. (AFP)

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