Pyongyang blames Japan for standoff
North Korea accuses Tokyo of trying to raise issue of Japanese captives.
Japan has tried to include the abduction issue during past nuclear talks, leading to Pyongyang demanding that Japan be excluded from participation.
North Korea has admitted to abducting 13 Japanese citizens in the 1970s and 1980s to train its spies in the Japanese language and culture.
Five were allowed to return home in 2002. Pyongyang says that the other eight are dead.
Japan wants proof of the deaths and suspects that North Korea has abducted more Japanese, but Pyongyang insists that the issue has been resolved.
KCNA also accused Japan of using North Korea’s nuclear weapons as an excuse to build a missile defence system.
Japan reacted swiftly and firmly to the North’s nuclear test, barring North Korean imports, port entry of North Korean ships, and most North Korean nationals from entering Japan.
Meanwhile, Roh Moo-hyun, South Korea’s president, said on Wednesday that other nations should emulate his government’s decision not to support stronger interception of North Korean ships suspected of smuggling weapons.
Roh said such a stance would be confrontational and his country would stand to lose the most from confrontation.
“[South] Korea knows the North Koreans the best,” he said. “We are experts, in fact, in dealing with them.”
Japan and the US have been pressing the South to take a stronger stance against its neighbour since the North conducted its nuclear test.
Roh said on Wednesday that South Korea had imposed sanctions on the North, in keeping with a UN resolution.