Japan PM meets prime SKorea official, urges Seoul to resolve row

TOKYO (AP) — Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga met with South Korea’s prime intelligence official on Tuesday in an indication of a thaw in relations between the 2 international locations, however maintained that South Korea ought to take the initiative in resolving their dispute over compensation for Japanese World Battle II actions.

Nationwide Intelligence Service Director Park Jie-won arrived in Tokyo over the weekend and met with prime officers of Suga’s governing celebration and authorities.

Suga thanked Park for touring to Tokyo regardless of the coronavirus, and informed him that Japan-South Korea relations, in addition to mutual cooperation with their joint ally, the US, are “indispensable” in coping with points reminiscent of North Korea’s missile and nuclear threats, his workplace stated in a press release.

Suga stated South Korea ought to provoke strikes to enhance their ties, which have been severely strained over South Korean Supreme Court docket rulings ordering Japanese corporations to pay compensation over abuse of Korean laborers throughout World Battle II.

Animosity over their colonial previous has deepened in the previous few years, worrying the US, which desires a robust trilateral alliance within the Asia-Pacific amid China’s rising affect and North Korea’s nuclear risk.

Park informed reporters that “I delivered Prime Minister Suga our opinions (on the difficulty of wartime Korean laborers) sufficiently. Leaders of each South Korea and Japan agree on the need of resolving this problem, and I feel we are able to nicely resolve this by way of talks.”


Suga, who took workplace practically two months in the past after the resignation of his predecessor, Shinzo Abe, on account of ailing well being, additionally urged South Korean President Moon Jae-in in phone talks in September to take steps within the compelled labor dispute to revive wholesome relations.

Japan maintains that every one wartime compensation points have been settled by a 1965 treaty that restored diplomatic relations and that the South Korean rulings violate worldwide legislation. Bitter South Korean recollections of Japan’s 1910-1945 colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula have been a recurring pressure on bilateral ties.

Historians say Japan used about 220,000 compelled Korean laborers in the course of the warfare. Japan says not all have been compelled to work.

The dispute spilled over into commerce and protection cooperation between the 2 international locations in the course of the management of Abe, recognized for a nationalistic ideology and makes an attempt to whitewash Japan’s wartime actions that repeatedly offended South Korea and China. Some specialists hope that relations will enhance underneath Suga, who’s seen as much less nationalistic.

Whereas recognized for his political prowess on home points, Suga’s diplomatic expertise are nonetheless largely unknown, although he’s anticipated to pursue Abe’s priorities. Suga inherits a variety of worldwide challenges, together with balancing relations with China within the face of U.S.-China disputes over commerce and different points.


Suga, throughout his assembly with Park, additionally sought South Korea’s assist in resolving the abductions of Japanese residents by North Korea many years in the past.

Chief Cupboard Secretary Katsunobu Kato stated Park met with governing Liberal Democratic Celebration Secretary Common Toshihiro Nikai on Sunday, including that they’re outdated mates. Park additionally met along with his Japanese counterpart, Nationwide Safety Secretariat chief Shigeru Kitamura, on Monday. Particulars of their talks weren’t launched.


Related Press videojournalist Jung-yoon Kim in Seoul, South Korea, contributed to this report.


Observe Mari Yamaguchi on Twitter at https://www.twitter.com/mariyamaguchi


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