Japan and North Korea will hold their first face-to-face talks after four years, Tokyo announced on Tuesday, signalling efforts “based on the principle of settling the unfortunate past and on restoring normal relations”, said Japan’s chief cabinet secretary Osamu Fujimura.
“There are several issues between Japan and North Korea and after having discussions we have decided to hold inter-governmental talks soon,” Fujimura said. “We decided that preparatory talks will be held on August 29 in Beijing”, in order to decide on the topics for future meetings.
The meeting will be carefully observed by North Korea’s neighbours and the West, who wait to see what path the inexperienced young leader Kim Jong-Un will take for his nuclear-armed country, analysts say.
Many in the international community hope that the North will return to the six-party talks on denuclearisation that it abandoned in 2008.
In the talks, held by the two Koreas, the United States, Japan, Russia and China, the North was promised a peace treaty and other benefits if it scraps its atomic weapons programme.