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N. Korea slams Japan for supporting sanctions amid thaw on peninsula

2018/05/08 10:28

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SEOUL, May 8 (Yonhap) -- North Korea lambasted Japan on Tuesday for supporting sanctions and pressure against its regime, ratcheting up its criticism of Tokyo amid expectations that the two countries could discuss normalizing diplomatic ties.

Japan's support for sanctions and pressure against North Korea "is tantamount to throwing cold water over easing tensions on the Korean Peninsula," the Rodong Sinmun, the North's official newspaper, said in a commentary. "Seeking to profit from worsening security situations on the peninsula is Japan's bad practice."

   It went on to say that Japan is trying to turn the current diplomatic progress around as part of its ambition to reinvade the Korean Peninsula and that it is a longtime enemy of the Korean people.

The North has sharpened its criticism of Japan ahead of its planned summit with the United States amid expectations that Pyongyang and Tokyo could discuss normalizing ties.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un expressed his willingness to hold talks with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe during his summit with South Korean President Moon Jae-in on April 27, Moon's aides said.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has also said Tokyo is willing to talk with Pyongyang to possibly normalize ties and resolve the issue of Japanese nationals abducted by the North.

Experts see the North's sharpened rhetoric against Japan as a tactic to increase its leverage before their possible talks on diplomatic relations.

The North has expressed its displeasure with what it sees as hostile remarks from Japanese officials against its regime.

Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono recently called for the international community to maintain sanctions and pressure on North Korea until it takes concrete actions with regard to denuclearization.

It has been reported that Japan might be seeking to put stern words against the North's nuclear program into statements to be adopted by the leaders of South Korea, Japan and China during a trilateral summit in Tokyo on Wednesday.

kokobj@yna.co.kr

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