The Japanese government expressed concern over the launch by North Korea of two ballistic missiles that fell into the Sea of Japan, but was not planning to suspend bilateral intergovernmental talks because of that, Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said on Wednesday.
He said the talks were a major platform for the settlement of security problems as well as the issue of Japanese nationals abducted by North Korea. "We are not going to suspend them at the moment," Suga said, noting, however, the threat these launches posed to the safety of sea and air communication in the region.
Tokyo and Pyongyang reached an agreement on the restart of intergovernmental negotiations on March 20, on the sidelines of a meeting of the two countries' Red Cross societies in China.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe called that "a very important step" for the normalization and the development of relations between Japan and North Korea. At the same time, Japanese Defence Minister Itsunori Onodera said his country would keep a close watch on North Korea's launches. "This time, rather powerful missiles were used. This undoubtedly affects our country's security and we will closely monitor the development of the situation," the defence minister said.
On Wednesday, North Korea launched two Rodong medium-range ballistic missiles.
They were launched with a time interval of ten minutes from north of capital Pyongyang and flew around 650 kilometers before falling into the Sea of Japan. These were the first Rodong launches in the past five years. A UN Security Council resolution bans North Korea from ballistic missile launches.