Moon urges efforts to improve S. Korea-Japan ties

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Forty-six South Korean sailors were killed when Cheonan was sunken eight years ago.

The delegation will leave on Friday to attend the April Spring Friendship Art Festival at the invitation of North Korea's Workers' Party, China's official Xinhua news agency said in a brief report. She pointed out Pyongyang's pledge to not take provocative action as long as dialogue was continuing and said, "it will be important to maintain the momentum for dialogue when dealing with the denuclearization issue".

South Korea's unification minister on Wednesday stressed the importance of worldwide cooperation in resolving North Korea's nuclear problem and improving inter-Korean ties.

"I want Japan and South Korea to closely coordinate to realize the denuclearization of North Korea and bring about peace, stability and prosperity in Northeast Asia", Kono said at the outset of his meeting with Kang, open to the press. North Korea acknowledged in 2002 that it had abducted 13 Japanese.

Some issues, Baik said, are left to be discussed between working-level officials of the two Koreas regarding protocol, security and media coverage for the summit as well as the establishment of hotline between ROK President Moon Jae-in and top DPRK leader Kim Jong Un.

"What North Korea means by denuclearization is very different than what the United States and what South Korea traditionally has meant by denuclearization", said Reiss, a negotiator of the nuclear deal, the Agreed Framework, reached with the North in 1990s.

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The US Energy Information Administrations still expects production to total 10.7 million barrels a day this year - a record. The United States late previous year overtook top exporter Saudi Arabia as the world's second biggest crude producer.

"Denuclearization is, no doubt, going to be ... a USA angle", said William Brown, a former intelligence official who is now an adjunct lecturer at Georgetown University.

The two envoys, according to Seoul's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, emphasized building a future-oriented bilateral relationship along with joint coordination and communication among Seoul, Tokyo and Washington on how to resolve the North Korean nuclear issue. -North summit will take place in May or early June.

Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono arrives at Gimpo International Airport in Seoul on Tuesday.

The festival is held in Pyongyang as part of the commemorations for the anniversary of the birth of the North's founder Kim Il Sung on April 15, 1912.

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. His visit follows the Moon government's announcement earlier this year that it will not scrap the 2015 deal about the Japanese military's wartime sexual slavery.

Kono was set to pay a courtesy call later in the day to President Moon Jae-in and to have dinner with Kang.

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