S Korea, Japan hold first bilateral talks since 2019, seek stronger ties
- The meeting takes place on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York.
- The two leaders agree on the need to mend relations that have been marred by historical controversies.
- Share serious concerns about North Korea’s nuclear program.
United Nations/Seoul: South Korean President Yoon Suk-yol and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida held their first one-on-one talks on Wednesday and agreed on the need to mend ties that have been marred by historic controversies.
The meeting took place in New York on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly, the first such interaction between the leaders of the two countries since 2019.
Yoon, who took office in May, is eager to mend ties with Tokyo, which has been plagued by disputes stemming from Japan’s 1910–45 colonization of the Korean peninsula, at a time when the two countries are developing North Korea’s developed nuclear and Missiles are facing threats. Japan has also emphasized the importance of strategic cooperation.
Yoon’s deputy spokesman Lee Jae-myong said in a statement, “The two leaders agreed on the need to improve relations by resolving pending issues, for which they agreed to intensify diplomatic dialogue while continuing to discuss among themselves.” happened.”
Lee said the leaders shared serious concerns about North Korea’s nuclear program, including the recent legislation authorizing the first use of nuclear weapons and the prospect of resuming nuclear testing for the first time since 2017. .
Both sides described the 30-minute meeting as “informal”.
Japan’s Foreign Ministry Press Secretary Hikariko Ono said the two leaders “shared the need to bring back strong bilateral ties with solutions to various issues.”
He said that they “agreed to develop relations in a future-oriented manner based on the foundation of friendly and cooperative relations maintained by the two countries since the normalization of diplomatic relations in 1965.”
Yun and Kishida met for the first time North Atlantic Treaty Organization The (NATO) summit in Madrid in June, and also a tripartite summit with US President Joe Biden, but Wednesday’s meeting was the first time they have sat down for one-on-one talks.
are at stake South Korean The court ordered the confiscation of the assets of Japanese companies that were accused of not paying compensation to some of their colonial-era workers.
Tokyo says the issue of compensation was settled under a 1965 treaty to normalize diplomatic relations and provide economic aid to South Korea and warns of dire consequences if the order is enforced.
Japan has urged South Korea to offer a solution, and a Seoul official said it would create a “realistic, viable proposal” that could gain consent from both victims and Tokyo.
But the administration’s efforts to seek opinion from victims, lawyers and experts through a public-private panel has faced a setback after the victims’ group refused to attend its meetings since last month.
The poor relations were exposed ahead of Wednesday’s meeting, with Kishida considering calling off its planned summit after being upset by an announcement from the Yun office, Japan’s Asahi Shimbun daily reported.
An official in Yoon’s office declined to comment on the report.