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Japan's ruling party denounces N. Korea's missile launches

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Japan's ruling Liberal Democratic Party on Wednesday condemned North Korea for a recent spate of missile launches in violation of U.N. resolutions amid heightened security concerns in East Asia.

"We strongly denounce (the missile launches) as violating U.N. resolutions, and posing a grave challenge to the international community," the LDP said in a statement by its panels on diplomacy, security and defense.

"North Korea forced through the launches without prior notice to countries concerned and put aircraft and ships in great danger. We cannot simply accept that," the statement said as it urges Tokyo to coordinate efforts with Washington to take "all necessary steps" against North Korea.

The statement was issued days after Japan and North Korea held informal talks in China's Shenyang on the sidelines of a meeting between their Red Cross societies, raising hope for breaking the diplomatic impasse.

A senior Japanese Foreign Ministry official told an LDP meeting Wednesday that Japan brought up the topic of North Korea's missile launch during the talks.

"We expressed our views on various challenges facing Japan and North Korea. They inevitably include the missile launch (early Monday)," said Junichi Ihara, director general of the Foreign Ministry's Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau.

Ihara also said Japan will strive to realize formal bilateral negotiations that have been stalled since November 2012 by "seizing on every opportunity."

Details of the informal talks in China were not yet known, but Japan is seen as having raised the issue of Japanese nationals abducted by North Korea in the 1970s and 1980s, as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has pledged to resolve it while he is in office.

North Korea launched two short-range missiles on Monday, and seven rocket-propelled projectiles on Tuesday, both into waters off its eastern coast, at the time of a joint U.S.-South Korean military exercise. Tokyo has lodged a protest with Pyongyang over Monday's launch.

==Kyodo

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/kyodo-news-international/140305/japans-ruling-party-denounces-n-koreas-missile-launche