Japan urged North Korea on Wednesday to return to international talks aimed at ending its nuclear weapons program, despite the North's announcement that it is booting out UN inspectors and restarting its atomic facilities.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Takeo Kawamura said Japan wants a resumption of the six-nation negotiations under which North Korea agreed to disable its main nuclear complex in return for oil and diplomatic concessions.
"Based on close cooperation with all countries involved, starting with the US, we want to demonstrate progress in the six-party talks," he said.
North Korea reacted angrily Tuesday to UN Security Council condemnation of its April 5 rocket launch, saying it would restart its nuclear program. The International Atomic Energy Agency said it was told by North Korea that it would stop cooperating with inspectors and resume reprocessing spent nuclear fuel, which can used to make nuclear weapons.