Japan-Russia Foreign Minister Telephone Talks

May 23, 2004

On May 23, 2004, Minister for Foreign Affairs Yoriko Kawaguchi held telephone talks with Minister for Foreign Affairs Sergey Lavrov of the Russian Federation. The following is a summary of what was discussed.

1. The North Korean Issue

(1) Foreign Minister Kawaguchi provided the following summary concerning Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's visit to North Korea.
(a) Prime Minister Koizumi visited North Korea based on a broad perspective of peace and stability as well as achieving a breakthrough in Japan-North Korea relations. During the visit, it was confirmed that the Japan-DPRK Pyongyang Declaration formed the foundation of Japan-North Korea relations.
(b) On the abduction issue, five of the eight family members of the abductees returned to Japan with Prime Minister Koizumi. Mr. Jenkins and his two daughters remained in North Korea.
(c) With regard to the abductees whose whereabouts are unknown, it was decided to promptly undertake a full-scale reinvestigation.
(d) Much time was devoted to discussions on the nuclear and missile issues in addition to the abduction issue.
* Chairman Kim had stated that denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula was the goal and that he would make efforts toward a peaceful resolution through the Six-Party Talks. Chairman Kim further stated that a freezing would be the first step to dismantlement, and would be accompanied by verification, and that it was not that deterrence would never be relinquished. Prime Minister Koizumi stated that there was more to be gained from dismantling nuclear weapons than by keeping them, and that the opportunity of the Six-Party Talks should be utilized so as not to miss the chance. However Chairman Kim indicated his concerns over security issues.
* With regard to the missile issue, a moratorium on the firing of missiles was reconfirmed.
(e) From a humanitarian perspective, Japan decided to provide humanitarian assistance of 250,000 tons of food and US$10 million equivalent in medical equipment to North Korea, through international organizations.
(f) Prime Minister Koizumi stated that so long as North Korea adhered to the Japan-DPRK Pyongyang Declaration, Japan, in view of the spirit of the Declaration, would not impose sanctions on North Korea.
(g) Our hope is that the Prime Minister's visit to North Korea would provide a good impetus towards the realization of the normalization of relations between Japan and North Korea.

(2) The following is a summary of the responses made by Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergey Lavrov of the Russian Federation.
(a) Foreign Minister Lavrov stated that he had already heard the wonderful news concerning Prime Minister Koizumi's visit to North Korea and extended his appreciation for the detailed explanation provided by Foreign Minister Kawaguchi.
(b) Russia supports the process towards the normalization of relations between Japan and North Korea as it will lead to enhanced stability of the situation in the Northeast Asia region.
(c) Foreign Minister Lavrov stated that in order to resolve the North Korean nuclear issue, Russia is willing to continue to cooperate with Japan. He also noted that the recently held Six-Party Talks Working Group has made progress, and that the visit to North Korea by Prime Minister Koizumi which was made at the stage when preparations were being made for the next Six-Party Talks would be a good contribution to the process.

2. Japan-Russia relations

(1) Foreign Minister Kawaguchi stated that the recent G8 Foreign Ministers' Meeting had provided an opportunity for a good bilateral meeting and that on the occasion of her visit to Russia from June 23 to 25, she was seeking to spend time having thorough discussions concerning Japan-Russia relations, including the issue of a peace treaty.

(2) In response, Foreign Minister Lavrov stated that the recent meeting had provided an opportunity for good discussions and that he was seeking to ensure that Foreign Minister Kawaguchi's visit to Russia was a successful one.

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