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Japan PM tightlipped about aide’s N Korea trip

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was tightlipped on Wednesday about a surprise visit by a senior aide to Pyongyang, refusing to give details on the purpose of the trip.

‘As the prime minister, I have no comment on the matter,’ Abe told a parliamentary committee the day after special adviser Isao Iijima arrived in the reclusive state.

Iijima was greeted at the airport in Pyongyang by Kim Chol-Ho, vice director of the North Korean Foreign Ministry’s Asian Affairs Department, according to Japanese media.  

Reports on Wednesday were rife with speculation that the North was trying to thaw icy relations with Japan at a time ties with the US and South Korea have gone into deep freeze after nuclear and missile tests. The US, along with its two Asian allies, has increased pressure on Pyongyang to drop its nuclear ambitions and to join the international community.
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