Japan, North Korea Officials to Hold Talks

Posted August 14th, 2012 at 6:05 am (UTC-5)
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Japan says it will hold government-level talks with North Korea this month for the first time in four years.

The Japanese government says the talks will cover various issues between the two nations and will be held in Beijing on August 29.

Tuesday's announcement comes nearly eight months after North Korean leader Kim Jong Un took power following the death of his father Kim Jong Il.

The inter-governmental talks could signal progress in attempts to normalize relations between the two Asian neighbors.

The two countries' relationship has long been strained by Tokyo's claims that Pyongyang kidnapped Japanese nationals, mostly during the Cold War era.

North Korea has admitted to kidnapping 13 Japanese nationals in the 1970s and 1980s, but said that the issue has been resolved since it later allowed five abductees to return home.

Japan suspects the North is still hiding survivors and has abducted more people than it admits.