Tokyo, Seoul at odds regarding abduction issue in N. Korea talks

China moved up to third place in terms of the competitiveness of the manufacturing industry in 2015 overtaking South Korea that fell to fifth place

Kono's visit comes amid growing concerns in Japan that the diplomatic drive led by South Korea, North Korea and the U.S. could fail to meet its security concerns and interests as it is sidelined in the denuclearization talks. North Korea acknowledged in 2002 that it had abducted 13 Japanese. Trump has agreed to meet Kim to discuss denuclearisation as soon as next month, though no venue or specific date is agreed.

The appointment this week of Mr Bolton - a former United Nations ambassador and strong defender of a USA first-strike option against North Korea - has raised concerns in Seoul over the prospects of the diplomatic thaw on the Korean peninsula.

South Korea and Japan have also locked horns over Seoul-controlled islets in the sea between the two countries called Dokdo in the South and Takeshima in Japan. -North summit will take place in May or early June.

"It's a very important question to deal with - [North Korea's] perception of denuclearization - before the president of the United States meets with Kim Jong Un", said Wilder.

In a growing rapprochement on the Korean peninsula kickstarted by the South's Winter Olympics, Mr Kim is set to meet South Korean President Moon Jae In on April 27.

The official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said in an article that there is increasing voice for re-investigation into the case of Cheonan in South Korea, as some 70 percent of South Koreans don't believe the result of investigation.

"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 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.

A trilateral Seoul-Beijing-Tokyo summit will be held in Tokyo around May 9.

Samore thinks Pyongyang's written denuclearization intent "will be sufficient for the first meeting".

Kang was said to have replied that the "South Korean government has worked at and will continue to work toward humanitarian issues" such as the abduction issue, as well as that of reunions for families torn apart during the 1950-53 Korean War.

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.

The South Korean embassy in Washington and the US State Department have agreed to set up a hotline in the build-up to the summits, Yonhap reported.

Former U.S. officials are concerned that Seoul would get too far ahead in engaging Pyongyang at the inter-Korea summit and offer incentives such as economic and humanitarian aid and the easing of sanctions imposed against North Korea.

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