Japan to N. Korea: halt all nuclear plans

Feb. 20, 2004 at 12:02 PM
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TOKYO, Feb. 20 (UPI) -- Japan is challenging North Korea to immediately dismantle its nuclear arms development program, the Kyodo news agency reported Friday.

The challenge is at the heart of Japan's basic posture coming into the second round of six-nation talks on North Korea's nuclear ambitions next week.

Tokyo also plans to press North Korea at the conference to acknowledge its alleged uranium enrichment activities if it wants to obtain energy aid.

In addition, Japan wants to arrange another round of full bilateral negotiations with the North Koreans in March on the issue of Japanese nationals abducted by North Korea decades ago, they said.

The discussions involving China, Japan, North and South Korea, Russia and the United States will start Wednesday in Beijing, and are expected to continue through Friday.

The officials said Japan will press North Korea to abandon its nuclear arms development program in a verifiable and irreversible manner and will consider bringing the issue before the U.N. Security Council for possible sanctions in cooperation with Washington.

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