N.Korea: Issue of abductions of Japanese nationals 'already resolved'

A senior official of North Korea's foreign ministry has reiterated that the issue of abductions of Japanese nationals has already been resolved.

Song Il Ho, the ambassador for normalizing ties with Japan, made the remarks in a statement carried by the state-run Korean Central News Agency on Thursday.

The statement came ahead of the 20th anniversary of a key political document, the 2002 Pyongyang Declaration, on Saturday.

Song stressed in the statement that the Japanese government has been trying to bring up the resolved issue again to increase anti-North Korean sentiment.

He said that Japan has rendered the 2002 accord "null and void" and "pushed the bilateral ties to the lowest ebb of confrontation" through sanctions linked to Pyongyang's nuclear and missile programs.

He also said, "How the bilateral ties will turn out entirely depends on the attitude of the Japanese government."

The Pyongyang Declaration was signed when then-Japanese Prime Minister Koizumi Junichiro visited the North Korean capital for a historic summit in September 2002.

North Korea's then-leader Kim Jong Il officially acknowledged the abductions and apologized at the summit. The two countries also agreed to work toward an early normalization of bilateral relations.