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Last Updated: Thursday, 6 April 2006, 07:09 GMT 08:09 UK
N Korea to attend security talks
Satellite image of North Korea's Yongbyon Nuclear Centre
Nuclear talks with the North stalled in November 2005
Japan has confirmed that a North Korean delegate will make a rare visit to attend a key security conference in Tokyo next week.

The foreign ministry said it saw "no problem" in the arrival of Kim Gye-Gwan.

The six-party forum comprising Japan, China, Russia, the Koreas and the US, aims to encourage the resumption of talks on the North's nuclear programme.

The talks have been stalled since November 2005.

Japan and North Korea have no diplomatic ties and visits by the North's officials are very rare.

Japanese foreign ministry press secretary Yoshinori Katori said: "We are aware that [Mr Kim] is preparing to enter Japan. We believe he will come as we see no problem in his doing so."

The Kyodo news agency, quoting Japanese officials, said Tokyo had issued entry permits to Mr Kim and four other officials from the North.

Civilian reactor

The North Koreans might also hold talks on the sidelines with Japan, reports from Tokyo have said.

Talks on Pyongyang's nuclear programme have been stalled since Washington placed sanctions on North Korean firms it said were engaging in illegal international activities.

US Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill will attend the Tokyo meeting.

He has been Washington's representative at international negotiations trying to get North Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons programme, but US officials said there were no plans at present for the two sides to meet.

Last September, North Korea agreed to give up its nuclear goals and return to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

However, its demands that it be given a civilian nuclear reactor and a row over US financial sanctions brought talks to a standstill, with no date set for more negotiations.


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