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Japan and others considering six-party talks on North Korean missiles at ASEAN conference
''You can be certain that North Korea's going to be a topic of heavy discussion"
The Associated Press (apwire)     Print Article 
Published 2006-07-21 18:09 (KST)   
Japan and other nations are considering informal six-party talks on the North Korean missile crisis at an upcoming ASEAN Regional Forum, a Foreign Ministry official said.

The regional talks open next week in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and are set to bring together leaders from North Korea, Japan, South Korea, China, the United States and Russia.

Japanese officials said participants are considering possible six-nation talks on the sidelines to discuss North Korea's recent test firing of several missiles, including a long-range missile believed capable of reaching the United States, a Foreign Ministry official said Friday on condition of anonymity, citing ministry protocol.

If North Korea is not willing to take part, the remaining nations may hold five-way talks, he said.

In Washington, State Department spokesman Sean McCormack told reporters Thursday that there will be ''plenty of opportunity to meet in bilateral format as well as in groupings to talk about the North Korea issue and the way forward'' at the forum. U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is expected to take part.

''You can be certain that North Korea's going to be a topic of heavy discussion at those meetings,'' McCormack said.
©2006 OhmyNews
Other articles by reporter The Associated Press

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