Washington, Jul 13: A group of Japanese lawmakers has strongly urged the US government not to provide food aid to North Korea, saying doing so will only help strengthen the current regime.
After talks with William Burns, undersecretary of state for political affairs, and Robert King, special envoy for North Korean human rights issues, Takeo Hiranuma who heads the Diet members' bipartisan caucus on the abduction issue, said, "We told the US side not to go ahead with food aid easily, given the behavior of North Korea in the past."
Burns, who is set to become deputy secretary of state, told the Japanese lawmakers that the United States shares such concerns with Japan and it has not yet decided whether to provide food aid to North Korea.
The group also called on the US government to put North Korea back on a list of state sponsors of terrorism.
Burns told the lawmakers that he will take note of these requests from Japan, while saying the procedure on the list of state sponsors of terrorism is complicated, according to a participant of the group.
North Korea was delisted from the list in October 2008 under the administration of President George W. Bush.
On the abduction of Japanese citizens in the 1970s and 1980s by North Korean agents, Hiranuma told reporters that Burns and Kings said the United States will continue to cooperate with Japan to resolve the problem.