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Bolton understands call for N. Korean regime change.

WASHINGTON, Sept. 13 Kyodo

U.S. arms control chief John Bolton expressed understanding Friday for the view held by the families of Japanese abducted to North Korea that a regime change is necessary in the North, an official of a group for the families said.

Bolton, undersecretary of state for arms control and international security, met with representatives of the group at the U.S. State Department, Yoichi Shimada told reporters.

Members of the group are visiting the United States, including Takuya Yokota, whose older sister Megumi was abducted at age 13, and Shigeo Iizuka, whose older sister Yaeko Taguchi was abducted at age 22.

According to Shimada, the group members told Bolton that North Korean leader Kim Jong Il cannot be trusted and the abduction and the nuclear program issues cannot be solved without a regime change.

Bolton said he roughly shared the view, Shimada said.

Shimada said U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs James Kelly told the members Thursday that if North Korea does not show sincerity in the upcoming six-way talks, discussions will be held within a new framework.

The first round of six-nation talks on North Korea's nuclear weapons program, involving China, North and South Korea, Japan, Russia and the U.S., was held in late August, and the second round is expected to take place in early November.

At a press meeting held later Friday, Yokota said he felt it was meaningful for the group to visit the U.S. and to make the views of the abductees' families known.

Yokota called for putting pressure on North Korea such as imposing economic sanctions, saying it is ''important not to compromise, but to take a strict attitude.''

In September last year, North Korea admitted its agents abducted 13 Japanese nationals in the 1970s and 1980s. It later repatriated five and said the others are dead, a claim the abductees' families reject.

Japan has argued it will normalize diplomatic ties with North Korea only after the two countries resolve the abduction issue. The two sides have never had diplomatic ties since North Korea was established after World War II.
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Publication:Asian Political News
Date:Sep 15, 2003
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