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Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Japan, S. Korea to fix ties at summit amid regional menace

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TOKYO — South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida will search to beat disputes over historical past and shortly rebuild safety and financial ties once they meet later Thursday for the primary summit in Japan between the 2 nations in additional than a decade.

Japan’s invitation for Yoon to go to adopted South Korea’s announcement of an area compensation fund for Korean victims of wartime compelled labor by Japanese corporations that might not require Japanese contributions.

The summit underscores their shared sense of urgency to kind a united entrance on North Korea and China with their mutual ally, america.

Hours earlier than Yoon departed for Tokyo, North Korea launched an intercontinental ballistic missile that landed in open waters off Japan’s northern island of Hokkaido. The launch was seen as a protest by the North of the summit and ongoing coaching between the U.S. and South Korean militaries.

The missile launch might enhance momentum for Tokyo and Seoul to maneuver nearer.

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“The peace and stability within the area are vital for the area, and we should additional strengthen cooperation amongst allies and like-minded nations,” Kishida stated, referring to the missile launch.

Chief Cupboard Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno stated Japan on the summit desires to reaffirm cooperation with Seoul and Washington in responses to North Korea’s missile threats.

Yoon, in his written response Wednesday to questions by international media together with The Related Press, stated there is no such thing as a time to waste whereas leaving strained Korea-Japan relations unattended. “I imagine we should finish the vicious cycle of mutual hostility and work collectively to hunt our two nations’ widespread pursuits.”

Higher Japan-South Korea ties are wanted as feuding over historic points has undermined a U.S. push to bolster its alliances in Asia to raised deal with North Korean nuclear threats and China’s rise.

The main target of consideration on the two nations’ first summit in Japan since 2011 is how Kishida responds to Yoon’s plan for the fund, a serious concession by Seoul aimed toward a breakthrough, and if or when they might resume protection dialogues and leaders’ common visits.

Kishida and Yoon are to have dinner collectively after their summit, then casual talks, in keeping with Kishida’s workplace. Media experiences stated Kishida will host a two-part dinner: “sukiyaki” beef stew for a primary spherical, then “omu-rice,” or rice topped with omelet — reportedly Yoon’s favourite dish — at one other restaurant.

Japan and South Korea have lengthy had disputes over the 1910-1945 Japanese colonization of the Korean Peninsula and atrocities throughout World Struggle II, which included compelled prostitution of “consolation girls” for Japanese troopers, and territorial disputes over a cluster of islands.

Ties plunged after South Korea’s Supreme Court docket in 2018 ordered two Japanese corporations, Nippon Metal and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, to compensate a few of their former Korean workers for compelled labor throughout World Struggle II.

Japan has insisted all compensation points had been settled by a 1965 treaty that normalized bilateral ties and was accompanied by $800 million in financial help and loans from Tokyo to Seoul.

The historical past disputes spilled over to commerce and protection. The 2 nations agreed to barter to revive South Korea’s commerce standing to 1 earlier than Japan imposed restrictions in 2019.

On Friday, a dozen South Korean enterprise leaders touring with Yoon are to satisfy Japanese counterparts and presumably focus on establishing a personal fund for financial, safety and cultural tasks.


Related Press writers Hyung-jin Kim and Kim Tong-hyung in Seoul, South Korea, contributed to this report.


Discover extra AP Asia-Pacific protection at https://apnews.com/hub/asia-pacific

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