Tokyo, Seoul at odds regarding abduction issue in N. Korea talks

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Moon said cooperating for close communication between South Korea and Japan is as important as ever in the run-up to the inter-Korean summit and a US-North Korea summit.

Former U.S. officials are concerned that Seoul would get too far ahead in engaging Pyongyang at the inter-Korea summit and offer incentives such as economic and humanitarian aid and the easing of sanctions imposed against North Korea.

The appointment this week of Bolton - a mustachioed former United Nations ambassador and strong defender of a U.S. first strike option against North Korea - has raised concerns in Seoul over the prospects of the diplomatic thaw on the Korean peninsula.

Kono, before the Seoul visit, also said he would try to ensure that the "abduction issue will be talked about in the North-South summit", as well as Pyongyang's "nuclear and missile issues".

Kang was said to have replied that the "South Korean government has worked at and will continue to work toward humanitarian issues" such as the abduction issue, as well as that of reunions for families torn apart during the 1950-53 Korean War.

Christopher Hill, who negotiated with the North as head of the USA delegation during the George W. Bush administration, said close coordination and cooperation between Seoul and Washington are critical when discussing security issues in particular.

Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono arrived in Seoul on Tuesday afternoon for a two-day visit.

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Another diplomat who sat in on the discussions added that Kono called for the complete, verifiable, and irreversible dismantlement (CVID) and the "complete resolution to North Korean nuclear and missile problem".

China will send a Communist Party official with an art troupe to North Korea for a festival celebrating the country's founder, state media said Wednesday, as the neighbours seek to heal battered relations.

The Moon-Kim summit, if held, will mark the third inter-Korean summit. Suh, a member of Moon's special delegation to Pyongyang, visited Tokyo last month to brief the Japanese government on the results of the meeting with the North Korean leader.

Although Japan and South Korea have repeatedly affirmed their cooperation on North Korea, bilateral ties have been strained in recent months over historical and territorial matters.

Kono had a dinner meeting hosted by Kang, where they continued conversing about various issues including North Korea.

Moon's administration has found fault with the way the deal was negotiated under his predecessor Park Geun Hye.

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