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Koizumi, Clinton see need to settle N. Korea issues peacefully.

TOKYO, Nov. 18 Kyodo

Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi and former U.S. President Bill Clinton shared the views Tuesday that problems related to North Korea's nuclear ambitions must be settled peacefully and that help for AIDS patients should be stepped up, a Japanese official said.

Koizumi and Clinton, who met at the premier's office, also discussed reconstruction work in Iraq and structural reforms in Japan, the official said.

Clinton arrived in Japan on Sunday to promote his efforts to assist AIDS patients globally.

On North Korea, Koizumi was quoted as telling Clinton that he hopes the situation will move so that Pyongyang becomes a ''responsible member'' of the international community.

Clinton voiced concern about security issues related to North Korea's nuclear weapon and missile programs, and said the issues should be resolved through diplomatic efforts, according to the official.

The United States signed a bilateral nuclear agreement with North Korea under the Clinton administration in 1994.

Koizumi reiterated that Japan is also seeking settlement of the issue of North Korea's abduction of Japanese in the past and expressed thanks for Washington's help, the official said.

On Iraq, Clinton thanked Koizumi for his support for the U.S. over the issue, while Koizumi showed Clinton his respect for ''efforts of relevant countries to help in reconstruction and improve the security situation in Iraq,'' the official said.

But they did not go into details about Iraq-related issues, including Japan's plan to send troops to Iraq, the official said.

Clinton asked for help by the Japanese government in projects to provide people with HIV/AIDS with cheaper medicines.

Referring to a 2000 bilateral agreement to set up a fund aiming to help AIDS-affected people, Koizumi praised Clinton's recent activities in the medical field, the official said.
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Publication:Japan Policy & Politics
Date:Nov 24, 2003
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