S. Korean, Japanese Leaders to Meet Once more to Enhance Ties

S. Korean, Japanese Leaders to Meet Once more to Enhance Ties

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — The leaders of South Korea and Japan are to satisfy Sunday for his or her second summit in lower than two months, as they push to bolster cooperation following years of fraught ties over historic points.

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida is to reach in South Korea on Sunday for a two-day go to, which reciprocates a mid-March trip to Tokyo by South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol.

The change of visits between the leaders of the Asian neighbors, the primary of its type in 12 years, alerts that each nations are severe about strengthening ties within the face of shared regional challenges reminiscent of North Korea’s rising nuclear arsenal and China’s rising assertiveness.

“I hope to have an open-hearted change of views with President Yoon based mostly on our relationship of belief,” Kishida instructed reporters earlier than his departure at his official residence. “Since March, there have been numerous ranges of communication in areas together with finance and protection, and I plan to additional develop this ongoing pattern.”

Yoon’s spokesperson, Lee Do-woon, instructed reporters Thursday that Sunday’s summit was anticipated to give attention to safety, financial and cultural cooperation. He earlier mentioned North Korea, total South Korea-Japan relations and unspecified worldwide points can be on the agenda.

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In their summit in March, Yoon and Kishida agreed to renew leadership-level visits and different talks. In current weeks, the 2 international locations have additionally withdrawn the financial retaliatory steps that they had earlier taken towards one another in earlier years when their historical past row rekindled.

Ties between Seoul and Tokyo have lengthy suffered on-again, off-again setbacks over points stemming from Japan’s 1910-45 colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula.

The most up-to-date sticking level of their ties was 2018 court rulings in South Korea that ordered two Japanese firms to financially compensate a few of their getting older former Korean staff for colonial-era pressured labor. The verdicts angered Japan, which has argued that each one compensation points have been already settled when the 2 international locations normalized ties in 1965.

In an escalation of tensions, the 2 international locations later downgraded one another’s commerce standing, whereas Seoul additionally threatened to spike a army intelligence-sharing pact. Some activists and residents in South Korea staged campaigns to boycott Japanese merchandise, as nicely.

The strained South Korea-Japan ties difficult U.S. efforts to construct a stronger regional alliance to higher deal with rising Chinese affect and North Korean nuclear threats.

In March, nevertheless, Yoon’s conservative authorities took a major step toward mending the ties by saying it could use native funds to compensate the pressured labor victims with out demanding contributions from Japanese firms. Later in March, Yoon traveled to Tokyo to satisfy with Kishida.

Yoon’s push drew sturdy backlash from a number of the pressured labor victims and his liberal rivals at residence, who’ve demanded direct compensation from the Japanese firms. Yoon has defended his determination, saying better cooperation with Japan is required to deal with a set of challenges reminiscent of North Korea’s advancing nuclear program, the intensifying U.S.-China strategic rivalry and international provide chain issues.

Some observers say if Kishida affords recent apologizes over Japan’s colonial wrongdoing throughout his Seoul go to, that may possible assist Yoon win better home help for his coverage on Japan.

Asked whether or not he would focus on the pressured labor victims with Yoon, Kishida mentioned at his residence: “We will frankly change our views on this.”

Seoul and Tokyo have a slew of different delicate historical past and territorial disputes, principally associated to the Japanese colonization. In a reminder of the fragile nature of their ties, diplomats between the 2 international locations final week spatted over a South Korean lawmaker’s go to to disputed islets situated within the waters between the 2 international locations. Earlier, Seoul protested Kishida’s providing of non secular choices to a Tokyo shrine that it views as a logo of Japan’s wartime aggression. __

Associated Press author Mari Yamaguchi in Tokyo contributed to this report.

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