May 14, 2018 13:34
Japan has been snubbed by North Korea in sending out invitations to international press for the closure of its nuclear test site in Punggye-ri, North Hamgyong Province later this month.
Japan was a member of the long-defunct six-party talks, and back in June 2008 Japanese broadcaster TBS covered the demolition of a cooling tower at North Korea’s nuclear facility in Yongbyon.
North Korea said media from only five countries were invited because of lack of space at the nuclear test site. But instead of Japan, the U.K., which was not a member of the six-party talks, was included in the list besides South Korea, the U.S., China and Russia.
That has led to speculation that North Korea deliberately wants to freeze Japan out of future denuclearization and disarmament talks.
Japan has called for North Korea's short and mid-range ballistic missiles to be included in the denuclearization agenda, which none of the other partners seem too worried about.
North Korea has repeatedly slammed Japan even after the historic inter-Korean summit on April 27. The official Rodong Sinmun daily wrote Sunday that Japanese Prime Minister Abe "will attempt to use all the petty tricks in order to prolong his doomed political life. But the more he clings on to the usual old tricks, the more his abominable self will be revealed to the rest of the world."
Abe is widely tipped to leave office later this year as a corruption probe closes in around him.
Japan's Sankei Shimbun reported, "It seems that North Korea wants foreign currency under the premise of inviting foreign media," and added, "The dismantling of the nuclear test site may just be another theatrical performance to the outside world."
A Cheong Wa Dae said the matter is "too sensitive" for comment but added, "It seems that the fact that there has not yet been official dialogue between Japan and North Korea may have influenced the decision."
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