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N. Korea tells Thailand of plan to return to 6-way talks.

TOKYO, Sept. 1 Kyodo

North Korea has recently told Thailand that it will return to the six-party talks on its nuclear ambitions in the week starting Sept. 12, Japanese Foreign Ministry officials said Thursday.

Thai Foreign Minister Kantathi Suphamongkhon, who visited Pyongyang from Saturday to Tuesday, informed Japanese Foreign Minister Nobutaka Machimura about North Korea's intention during a telephone conversation Thursday, the officials said.

Kantathi was quoted as telling Machimura that the North Korean side said the country will be surely able to return to the talks in the week starting Sept. 12.

China, Japan, North and South Korea, Russia and the United States agreed to reconvene in the week starting Aug. 29 when they broke for a recess Aug. 7 after failing to hammer out a joint document on denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

North Korea said the country could not do so this week as South Korea and the United States were jointly conducting an annual military drill in South Korea, Kantathi told Machimura. The drill began Aug. 22.

North Korea also cited the naming by the United States of hardliner Jay Lefkowitz as special envoy on human rights in North Korea as a reason for not returning as scheduled, the officials quoted Kantathi as saying. Lefkowitz was a former White House domestic policy adviser.

Machimura called on Kantathi for Thailand's further help in Tokyo's efforts to settle the issue of North Korea's abductions of Japanese citizens decades ago as Thai academic Vitit Muntarbhorn serves as a special rapporteur on the human rights situation in North Korea.
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Publication:Asian Political News
Date:Sep 5, 2005
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