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U.S. vows support for Japan on citizens abducted by N. Korea

All Headlines 04:51 May 09, 2012

By Lee Chi-dong

WASHINGTON, May 8 (Yonhap) -- The United States tried Tuesday to allay disappointment among some Japanese over its approach toward Japanese citizens abducted by North Korea decades ago.

Washington's position on the matter has been called into question in the wake of a Monday meeting here between Kurt Campbell, assistant secretary of state for East Asia and Pacific affairs, and the families of some Japanese victims who were kidnapped by the North.

Cambell reportedly spent much of his time in the meeting on another topic, emphasizing the need to address parental child abduction.

The U.S. has urged Japan to sign an international treaty on parental child abductions _ a matter basically to be resolved between parents.

Campbell's position disappointed Japanese nationals seeking help from the U.S.in their efforts to learn the fate of relatives and see them again if they are still alive, according to Japanese media.

State Department deputy spokesman Mark Toner later said the U.S. does not link the issue of parental abductions and that of Japanese citizens kidnapped by North Korea in the 1970s and 1980s.

"Let me start off by saying that the U.S. certainly does not link these two issues," he told reporters. "Both are important, clearly, and we're going to continue to do our utmost to make progress on both."

He added, "And in support of Japanese efforts to resolve this issue, we continue to press North Korea to immediately address Japan's concerns and to follow through on its August 2008 agreement to conduct a full reinvestigation of the abduction cases."

Toner confirmed that the families of Japanese abductees also had a series of meetings with Glyn Davies, special representative for North Korea policy, Robert King, special envoy for North Korean human rights issues, and Jim Zumwalt, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs.

Tokyo says at least 17 Japanese citizens were abducted by North Korean agents in the 1970s and 1980s.

In 2002, the North acknowledged kidnapping 13 Japanese citizens and allowed five of them to return home, saying the others had died, a claim disputed by Tokyo.



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