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Japan's nuclear envoy hold talks with S. Korean officials


Japan's nuclear envoy to the stalled six-party talks on North Korea's denuclearization on Thursday held talks here with senior South Korean Foreign Ministry officials.

Junichi Ihara, director general of the Japanese Foreign Ministry's Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau, arrived in Seoul for a two-day visit earlier Thursday and met with First Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kyou Hyun and South Korea's nuclear envoy Cho Tae Yong.

It was not immediately know what they discussed, but they were expected to touch on a range of issues concerning bilateral ties, including the North Korean nuclear issue.

In particular, the two sides were expected to exchange views on Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida's expression of a willingness Wednesday to arrange a summit between Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and South Korean President Park Geun Hye on the sidelines of international gatherings in September and October.

"On the occasion of various meetings, we should seek to communicate at a high political level," Kishida said at a news conference, while acknowledging that Tokyo and Seoul have no concrete plans for a summit at the moment.

Abe and Park, who became national leaders in December and February, respectively, have yet to hold a face-to-face meeting as relations between the two countries remain soured over a territorial dispute and interpretations of Japan's conduct during its 1910 to 1945 colonization of the Korean Peninsula.

With a summit among Japan, China and host South Korea being postponed from the originally planned May, Kishida said South Korea must think about what to do next.

Meanwhile, the six-party talks, involving the two Koreas, the United States, China, Japan and Russia, have been stalled since late 2008.