3144Japan objects to US N Korea move
- Oct 11, 2008http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/7665716.stm
Page last updated at 03:44 GMT, Sunday, 12 October 2008 04:44 UK
Japan objects to US N Korea move
Japan has criticised as "extremely regrettable" Washington's decision to remove North Korea from its list of state sponsors of terrorism.
Japanese Finance Minister Shoichi Nakagawa told Japanese media that "abductions amount to terrorist acts".
Japan wants action on people it believes were kidnapped by Pyongyang.
The US removed North Korea from its terror list after saying the North had agreed to provide full access to its controversial nuclear programme.
Mr Nakagawa objected to the move during a visit to Washington, where he is attending G7 talks.
Tokyo argues North Korea should remain on the list because issues related to the abduction of Japanese citizens in the 1970s and 1980s have not been resolved.
South Korea, however, welcomed the US decision.
"This government welcomes these moves as an opportunity that would lead to normalisation of the six-party talks and North Korea's eventual abandonment of its nuclear programmes," said Kim Sook, Seoul's nuclear envoy.
On Saturday State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said North Korea would resume its disabling of nuclear facilities.
This disablement was agreed in 2007, but the process has recently reversed with North Korea threatening to restart its Yongbyon reactor.
Under the latest accord, North Korea will allow nuclear experts to take samples and conduct forensic tests at all its declared nuclear facilities and undeclared sites, the State Department said.
The North will also allow inspectors to verify its denials about transfers of nuclear technology and an alleged uranium programme.
Analysts say it is not clear the latest agreement will succeed: Several previous deals have broken down due to different interpretations of what was required.
Washington's announcement came after a visit to Pyongyang last week by US envoy Christopher Hill, and days of talks between the US and its negotiating partners China, South Korea, Russia and Japan.
Together with North Korea, they have been involved in long-running six-party talks over the de-nuclearisation of the Korean peninsula.
Pyongyang began disabling its Yongbyon nuclear reactor in August, but recently it has made moves to reassemble the plant after Washington refused to remove North Korea from the terror blacklist.
It also expelled UN inspectors and test-fired short-range missiles, increasing tensions with the US.
Correspondents say Pyongyang wanted to be removed from the US list in order to receive international aid and loans, and to facilitate its diplomatic rehabilitation.