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Japan Foreign Ministry on North Korea, July 17, 2007

Press Conference, Japan Ministry of Foreign Affairs, July 17, 2007.

Deputy Press Secretary Tomohiko Taniguchi

V. Questions concerning North Korea

Q: What are your expectations of the upcoming Six-Party Talks, with North Korea, in particular, taking a positive position and implementing the further steps of denuclearization?

Mr. Taniguchi: North Korea is supposed to shut down and seal its main nuclear facility at Yongbyon and to invite International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) officials to monitor and verify compliance and discuss a list of all its nuclear programs in advance of its commitment at a later point to provide a complete declaration of all nuclear programs, and to disable all existing nuclear facilities. To shut down and seal its main nuclear facility does not suffice. North Korea has to discuss a list of all its nuclear programs with the other members of the Six-Party Talks, and that has not happened yet. The expectation is high indeed that North Korea is going to comply fully and completely with these initial actions laid out by the February agreement.

Q: How would you comment on the recent statement of the North Korean Minister of Foreign Affairs saying that the further denuclearization steps will depend on whether the US and Japan will be able to take practical measures to cancel their hostile policies? What does North Korea want in your opinion?

Mr. Taniguchi: The denuclearization process on the part of North Korea is not a bilateral issue between North Korea and the US or between North Korea and Japan. It is the obligation that North Korea made and pledged themselves in the framework of the Six-Party Talks. I am not sure if the North Korean Foreign Minister really made that remark, yet as I said, to denuclearize North Korea is going to be discussed and monitored within the framework of the Six-Party Talks.

Q: About those practical measures mentioned by North Korea; what practical measures do they mean?

Mr. Taniguchi: Please ask the Foreign Minister of North Korea.

Q: Do you think it is possible that the problem of the abducted Japanese citizens can become an obstacle to further denuclearization of the Korean peninsula?

Mr. Taniguchi: As agreed in the February agreement, the bilateral discussion between North Korea and Japan has got to proceed in tandem with other discussions, like the discussion for the normalization of diplomatic relations between the US and North Korea. Therefore, the bilateral part between North Korea and Japan has to make a substantial advancement in order for the Six-Party framework to go on and denuclearize further the North Korean nuclear programs. So, by definition, the abduction issue, which the Japanese Government regards very highly, cannot be an obstacle and must not be.

No more questions? Thank you very much.

Source: Japan Ministry of Foreign Affairs, http://www.mofa.go.jp/

© 2007 The Acronym Institute.