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Japan, DPRK held informal meetings in China

Kyodo reported on the disclosure by several sources involved in Japan-North Korea relations that Japanese diplomats met with North Korean officials informally on at least three occasions in several Chinese cities from September through November perhaps in an attempt to achieve a breakthrough in the stalled abduction talks. According to the story, the DPRK side was apparently represented by officials from the International division of the ruling Workers’ Party, which is believed to be closely associated with strongman Kim Jong Un. Pointing out that the North Korean Foreign Ministry has been the official channel of communications with Tokyo over the past ten years, the article speculated that the Kim regime may be trying to renew overtures toward Japan by tapping Workers’ Party expertise.

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