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Kishida and Yoon hold first individual talks, agree to improve relations


Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and South Korean President Yoon Seok-yeol held their first one-on-one talks, according to their governments, and the two sides resolved relations soured by a feud over Japan’s wartime abuses on the Korean Peninsula. Agreed on the need for improvement.

An informal meeting was held in New York City on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) on Wednesday.

The talks are the first between the heads of neighboring countries since 2019.

“We have taken the first step toward producing tangible results,” a South Korean presidential official told reporters in New York City, according to South Korea’s Yonhap news agency. “For the first time in two years and ten months, despite the various disputes between South Korea and Japan, the two leaders met and took the first step towards a solution. That is why it was so important. .”

Japan and South Korea lowest in decades.

The latest tension is that during World War II, when South Korea was a colony of Japan, South Korea’s Supreme Court ordered two Japanese companies, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Nippon Steel Corp. It started when I ordered compensation for In the same year, then-South Korean President Moon Jae-in also dismantled a bilateral fund established to compensate Korean women who were forced into sexual slavery during the war.

Japan, which claims the issue was resolved with the 1965 treaty that normalized relations, responded by imposing restrictions on exports of critical chemicals to South Korea. launched a boycott of Japanese products.

Tensions have sparked concerns in the US, with analysts threatening security cooperation as North Korea ramps up nuclear weapons testing and building an Indo-Pacific alliance to counter China’s growing global influence. It could undermine Washington’s efforts to

With Yoon taking office in May, hopes of a thaw rose.

The conservative president broke with the policies of his Democratic predecessor and promised to improve relations with Japan. Representing Tokyo as a partner With Russia’s war in Ukraine and North Korea accelerating its missile program and enacting legislation to authorize a first-strike nuclear strike, we are addressing global challenges.

At Wednesday’s meeting, Yun and Kishida “agreed on the need to improve bilateral relations by resolving outstanding issues and instructed diplomats to accelerate negotiations between the two countries to that end.” Agreed,” a spokesperson for the South Korean president said in a written briefing. “The two leaders shared serious concerns about North Korea’s nuclear program, including the recent legalization of its nuclear weapons and the possibility of a seventh nuclear test, and agreed to work closely with the international community to address them.” Agreed,” he added.

The meeting lasted 30 minutes in a conference building near the UN headquarters, he added.

US President Joe Biden (center), South Korean President Yoon Sook-yeol (left) and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida (right) meet at the NATO Summit in Madrid, Spain June 29, 2022. [File: Jonathan Ernst/ Reuters]

On the other hand, Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that the two leaders “shared the need to resolve various issues and restore healthy bilateral relations.” Affirmed the importance of promoting inter- and trilateral cooperation: “neighbors in the current strategic environment”.

It was not immediately clear whether the two leaders had discussed concrete steps to resolve the historic issue.

Analysts described the meeting as a breakthrough as previous attempts to hold the summit failed.

Yoon invited Kishida to his inauguration, which was attended by Japan’s foreign minister, and efforts to arrange a summit on the sidelines of US President Joe Biden’s visit to Asia in May and the NATO meeting in Madrid in June. However, Japan’s Kyodo news agency said the two leaders had a brief conversation when they met between NATO meetings.

“The mere fact that the summit was held is a diplomatic achievement for Yoon and Kishida,” said Leif Eric Easley, an associate professor of international studies at Ewha Womans University in Seoul.

“However, both governments still need to work because mending bilateral ties will require more than a meeting on the sidelines of the United Nations. Japan should show greater efforts towards historic reconciliation and cooperation in trade. To contribute to the defense, Washington will help.”



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