“Need to mend ties”: Korea, Japan in top-level talks

October 28, 2019

SEOUL - South Korea's Prime Minister, Lee Nak-yon, visiting Tokyo to attend the enthronement ceremony for the new Japanese emperor, has stressed to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe the need to mend strained bilateral ties -- and underscored the importance of communication.

The two prime ministers held talks for around 20 minutes, according to Korean Vice Foreign Minister, Cho Sei-young.

Lee and Abe agreed that the two neighbouring countries could no longer leave their strained relations unsettled, and emphasised the need to continue diplomatic dialogue while encouraging people-to-people exchanges.

They also concurred that bilateral co-operation between Seoul and Tokyo and trilateral co-operation among Korea, Japan and the U.S. are crucial in tackling the North Korean issue.

On the issue of Korean victims of forced labour by Japan, Abe maintained his stance that an agreement between countries should be kept.

Lee commented: "Just like Japan, Korea has complied with the bilateral 1965 Treaty on Basic Relations and the Claims Settlement Agreement, and will do so in the future. I believe we can overcome hardships by putting our heads together."

At the meeting, Lee also delivered a letter to Prime Minister Abe from President Moon Jae-in in which he expressed hopes for an early resolution to bilateral tensions.

www.korea.kr (ATI).