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Wednesday, February 28, 2024

S. Korean, Japanese officers meet forward of leaders’ summit

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SEOUL, South Korea — Senior South Korean and Japanese officers on Wednesday mentioned strengthening relations and coordinating responses to North Korea’s nuclear and missile threats in a gathering in Seoul forward of a summit between the nations’ leaders.

South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol will host on Sunday Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida of their second summit since March. The 2 U.S. allies have been working to restore relations strained by historic grievances and tighten safety cooperation to deal with North Korean nuclear threats.

The talks between South Korean Nationwide Safety Adviser Cho Tae-yong and his Japanese counterpart, Takeo Akiba, had been centered on the trilateral safety cooperation with Washington and inspiring additional international efforts to stem North Korean makes an attempt to evade U.N. Safety Council sanctions to fund its nuclear arms program.

Cho and Akiba additionally mentioned facilitating the financial and cultural exchanges and aligning their broader methods for the Indo-Pacific area, based on Yoon’s workplace.

They later participated in a broader assembly with financial and safety officers that mentioned points associated to produce chain resiliency, local weather change and rising applied sciences, Yoon’s workplace mentioned.

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The summit on Sunday follows Yoon’s state go to to Washington final week the place he and U.S. President Joe Biden agreed to strengthen nuclear deterrence to stop North Korean aggression.

Yoon, Biden and Kishida are additionally planning to carry a trilateral summit subsequent month on the Group of Seven conferences in Hiroshima, the place North Korea is predicted to be among the many main subjects together with Russia’s battle on Ukraine and China’s assertive overseas coverage.

North Korea has test-fired round 100 missiles because the begin of 2022 because it continues to make use of the US’ increasing navy workouts with South Korea and Japan as a pretext to speed up its weapons improvement.

The weapons North Korea examined this 12 months embody intercontinental ballistic missiles designed to achieve the U.S. mainland and shorter-range weapons doubtlessly focusing on South Korea and Japan. North Korean chief Kim Jong Un has punctuated the exams with threats to preemptively use his nuclear weapons in a broad vary of situations the place the North might understand its management as beneath risk.

North Korea’s intensified testing exercise and threats of nuclear battle have pulled Seoul and Tokyo nearer collectively following years of bickering over historical past. In the course of the summit in Tokyo in March, Yoon and Kishida vowed to rebuild their safety and financial relations that had declined over disputes linked to Japan’s brutal rule of the Korean Peninsula earlier than the tip of World Battle II.

The assembly, which was the primary formal summit hosted by Japan since 2011, got here after Yoon’s authorities took a serious step towards bettering ties by asserting plans to make use of South Korean funds to compensate Koreans who had been enslaved by Japanese firms through the colonial interval.

The plan, which doesn’t require Japanese contributions, goals to finish a row stemming from South Korean courtroom rulings in 2018 that ordered Japanese firms to supply reparations to the compelled laborers. These rulings irked Japan, which insists all compensation points had been settled by a 1965 treaty that normalized relations.

Yoon’s push to fix ties with Tokyo has triggered criticism from some compelled labor victims and his political rivals, who demand direct Japanese compensation. However Yoon has defended his strikes, saying nearer ties with Japan are essential for coping with a slew of regional challenges, particularly North Korea.

Japan’s Commerce Ministry mentioned final week that it began procedures to revive preferential commerce standing for South Korea, days after Seoul took an analogous step for Tokyo and requested reciprocity. The nations in 2019 had downgraded one another’s commerce standing amid an erosion of ties attributable to the compelled labor rulings.

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