Annan welcomes resumption of high-level talks between Japan, DPR of Korea

24 May 2004

United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan welcomed the resumption of talks between the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) and Japan, said his spokesman today, describing the high-level meetings as "a timely and encouraging step."

"He hopes that the discussions between Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi and Chairman of the DPRK National Defence Commission Kim Jong Il, which have helped to resolve some difficult issues, will lead to a normalization of bilateral relations," spokesman Fred Eckhard said.

"The Secretary-General is pleased to note the commitment of the two leaders to continue to resolve the nuclear issue within the Beijing process," he added, referring to the six-way talks also involving China, the Republic of Korea, Russian Federation and United States.

Mr. Eckhard said it was also the message that the Mr. Annan's Personal Envoy, Maurice F. Strong, received during his visit last week to the DPRK. "The Secretary-General is grateful for Japan's decision to resume providing humanitarian aid to the DPRK, which has been the subject of special efforts by the United Nations," he said.