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UPDATED: 15:12, July 12, 2005
Japan, US seek concrete results in six-party talks
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Japan and the United States are hopeful the upcoming six-party talks would be successful, and demanded for Pyongyang's efforts for concrete achievements in the negotiation, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Tuesday.

"We are both hopeful that the talks will be successful.... But what we really need is a strategic decision on the part of the North (DPRK) that they are indeed ready to give up their nuclear weapons, because without that, the talks cannot be successful," Rice told a press conference after her talks with Japanese Foreign Minister Nobutaka Machimura.

They also discussed a series of issues including the UN Security Council reform, the realignment of US forces in Japan and the disputes between the two countries on stalled US beef imports.

The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) announced Saturday that it would return to the long-stalled six-party talks on its nuclear program later this month.

Machimura said it was important for the DPRK to participate in the fresh round of talks in a "serious and constructive manner."

Japan, South Korea and the United States would hold a high- level meeting later this week in Seoul to discuss their coordination in issues concerning the DPRK, the foreign ministers said.

Machimura said it was not appropriate to discuss the worst-case scenario of the negotiation as the six-party talks were about to be resumed and Japan and the United States were trying to get in and achieve good results.

While the two countries shared the stance on the issue of the six-party talks, they were still different in the United Nations' reform.

Japan and three other countries -- Brazil, India and Germany -- have jointly submitted a resolution on the UN reform, seeking permanent seats in the Security Council.

Rice said the United States supports Japan's bid but holds that the reform needs further discussions.

"The United States does not oppose the candidacy of any state at this point, but we are concerned that there will be enough time in the discussion of the UN Security Council reform, and that this very important issue has been given due consideration, and we have gotten as broad consensus as possible," Rice said.

Rice also said they agreed to speed up discussion of the realignment of the US forces in Japan, saying the US-Japanese defense alliance should be modern and ready for the concerns and challenges of the 21st century.

Machimura told Rice that Japanese experts were reviewing the issue about the resumption of US beef product, which has been banned since first outbreak of mad cow disease there in December, 2003. Rice said she hoped that the important issue could be solved as soon as possible.

They also planned to start a new round of the strategic dialogues on the sidelines of the UN Assembly Session in September.

As for Japan's humanitarian aid in Iraq, which signals a support to the United States, Rice said it was up to the Japanese government to decide what its further contribution would be.

Some 600 Japanese troops are stationed in southern Iraq. Tokyo is mulling on whether to extend the mission due to end in December.

Rice arrived in Japan on Monday night on the third leg of her trip to Asia. She will meet with Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi and Chief Cabinet Secretary Hiroyuki Hosoda before leaving Japan later in the day.

Source: Xinhua

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