Japan, S. Korea want in on N. Korea talks

June 7, 2003 at 9:15 AM
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TOKYO, June 7 (UPI) -- Japan and South Korea called for multilateral talks to address the threat of nuclear weapons from the North, the BBC reported Saturday.

At a Tokyo meeting, the leaders of the two countries expressed hope Japan and South Korea would be included in future talks. North Korea has insisted in the past on bilateral talks only with the United States.

South Korean president Roh Moo-hyun and Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi both said they welcomed China's mediating role during U.S.-North Korea talks.

Friday, an editorial in a North Korean newspaper called U.S. plans to increase military spending in the South a preparatory move toward pre-emptive strikes against the North. A major South Korean daily has responded with the same concern.

The United States will beef up the military budget in South Korea by $11 billion. It also plans to pull troops back from the demilitarized zone separating the two Koreas.

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