Envoys from Japan, North may meet

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Envoys from Japan, North may meet

Japan is considering holding a ministerial-level meeting with North Korea on the sidelines of the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), scheduled for early August in Myanmar, to discuss repatriation of Japanese abductees in the Communist state, a source told Kyodo News. A Japanese government source told Kyodo Sunday that Tokyo hopes to hold a meeting between Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida and his North Korean counterpart, Ri Su-yong, to deal with the issue of Japanese people abducted by the regime.

If Pyongyang accepts Tokyo’s proposal, it would be the highest-level meeting between the two countries since the rule of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un started in 2012.

The meeting would be possible if North Korea “is more open to dialogue,” the source said, cited by Kyodo in an English-language dispatch.

Kyodo said the ARF is the only international conference attended by foreign ministries from the two countries. In 2004, the foreign ministers from Tokyo and Pyongyang had such a meeting on the sidelines of the forum.

BY KIM HEE-JIN [heejin@joongang.co.kr]

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