Japan will never tolerate nuclear NKorea: Abe
AFP | January 26, 2007
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Friday that Japan will never tolerate a nuclear-armed North Korea.
Abe, who built his career as a hardliner on North Korea, spoke ahead of the expected resumption of six-nation talks on ending the communist state's nuclear arsenal.
"Our country will never tolerate North Korea's nuclear weapons development," Abe said in a policy speech to parliament.
"With a policy of pressure and dialogue, we will cooperate with the countries concerned to seek a concrete response from North Korea," he said.
North Korea tested its first atom bomb on October 9, days after Abe took office with a conservative agenda including revising the post-World War II pacifist constitution.
Abe, despite his calls for a more assertive Japan, said the country was cooperating with the United States to build a missile defense shield.
"By cooperating with the United States, we will work to hurriedly set up a system to protect our country from ballistic missiles," Abe said.
Japan feels a direct threat from North Korea, which fired a missile over its main island in 1998, prompting Tokyo and Washington to team up to build a missile defense shield.
The US military also installed Patriot surface-to-air missiles in Japan after North Korea test-fired missiles in July.
Abe rose to prominence campaigning against North Korea for its abductions of Japanese civilians in the 1970s and 1980s to train its spies. Japan insists that some of them are alive and kept under wraps in North Korea.
"Normalization of ties between Japan and North Korea cannot be realized without the resolution of the abduction issue. We will strongly demand North Korea let all the abductees return home swiftly," Abe said.
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