Japan, South Korea renew ties at Tokyo summit

Streaming HUBMarch 17, 2023

Japan and South Korea agreed to resume regular visits between their leaders and take steps to resolve the trade dispute during a much-anticipated summit on Thursday, which was called by Japan’s prime minister on the security and economic ties between the two countries. Called a “huge step” for rebuilding. Try to overcome a century of difficult history.

The summit may revise the strategic map of Northeast Asia. The two allies of the United States, which have long been at loggerheads over their histories, are seeking to forge a united front driven by shared concerns about a restive North Korea and a more powerful China.

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol both stressed the importance of better relations as they began Thursday’s summit, hours after North Korea’s missile launch and encounter between Japanese and Chinese ships in disputed waters .

South Korea, Japan leaders set to meet next week for summit on strengthening ties

Leaders renew security ties

In his opening remarks, Kishida said the meeting would mark the resumption of regular visits between the leaders, which had stalled for more than a decade. The countries have agreed to resume the process of trilateral communication between Japan, South Korea and China, as well as the defense dialogue and the sub-ministerial strategic dialogue, they said at a joint press conference.

“This week the cherry blossoms have begun to bloom in Tokyo, and after a long winter season, in terms of our bilateral relations, Japan is now able to welcome the President of South Korea for the first time in 12 years,” Kishida said.

Yoon said Thursday’s meeting “has special significance because it shows the people of the two countries that South Korea-Japan relations are moving towards a new beginning after being plagued by various issues.” He said the two countries sharing the same democratic values ​​are “partners who should cooperate on security, economic issues and the global agenda”.

“The ever-increasing threat posed by North Korea’s nuclear missile program is a major threat not only to peace and stability in East Asia, but also to the (wider) international community,” Yoon said. “South Korea and Japan need to work together and in solidarity to intelligently counter the threat.”

Yoon said, “South Korea’s interests are not equal to Japan’s interests.” Better bilateral relations “will greatly help both the countries in dealing with their security crisis.”

Yoon said the two leaders agreed to enhance cooperation in areas such as security, economy and people-to-people exchanges.

Washington appears to have worked hard to make the summit a success. US Ambassador to Japan Rahm Emmanuel said his country and its two allies have held about 40 trilateral meetings and he thinks the cooperation in the process has helped build trust.

South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol, left, and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, right, shake hands before their bilateral meeting in Tokyo, Japan, March 16, 2023.

South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol, left, and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, right, shake hands before their bilateral meeting in Tokyo, Japan, March 16, 2023. (Kiyoshi Ota/Pool Photo via AP)

South Korea, Japan reach agreement to restore trade ties

Hours before the summit began, South Korea’s Trade Minister Lee Chang-yang said that Japan had agreed to lift export controls on South Korea after talks this week, and that South Korea would be able to compete in world trade after the sanctions were lifted. Will withdraw his complaint from the organization.

Japan and South Korea have long-standing disputes over Japanese colonialism on the Korean Peninsula in 1910–1945 and atrocities during World War II, including the forced prostitution of “comfort women” to Japanese soldiers, and a group of islands Territorial disputes were involved. Relations reached a nadir when the South Korean Supreme Court ordered Japanese companies to compensate Korean victims or bereaved relatives in 2018, and Japan imposed trade sanctions on South Korea shortly after.

The Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry said it accepted South Korea’s reform of export controls during the talks and, as a result of Seoul’s decision to drop the WTO case, Japan agreed to lift sanctions against South Korea and allow the country It was decided to restore the position. It was before July 2019.

Japanese export controls included fluorinated polyimides, which are used in OLED screens for TVs and smartphones, and photoresist and hydrogen fluoride, used to make semiconductors.

Li’s ministry said the countries would continue to discuss restoring preferred trade status to each other. According to Kishida, the two countries also agreed to start regular dialogue on economic security.

North Korea threatens action after US flies nuclear-capable B-52 bomber over Korean peninsula

Region in flux as Washington, Beijing struggle for influence

The summit comes as a series of dramatic events unfolds in what Kishida called a “serious security environment”.

Kishida also said that Japan and South Korea have agreed to resume the process of trilateral communication between Japan, South Korea and China, as well as the defense dialogue and the sub-ministerial strategic dialogue .

Washington would welcome better Japan-South Korea ties, as the tussle over historical issues has weakened US pressure to strengthen its alliances in Asia. The three countries began joint anti-submarine warfare exercises on Thursday, in which Canada and India joined.

North Korea fired a missile in the early hours of Thursday, just before Yun left for Tokyo. The intercontinental ballistic missile was launched on a steep trajectory to avoid the territory of other countries and fell into the open waters off Japan’s northern island of Hokkaido. This was probably intended to send a message about both the summit and the joint military exercise.

China’s dispute with Japan over small islands in the East China Sea also heated up as both sides on Thursday accused each other of violating their territorial waters. The summit follows a series of Chinese diplomatic breakthroughs in areas traditionally more affected by the US than Honduras, which announced on Wednesday that it would end diplomatic recognition of Taiwan in favor of China, the island governed autonomously by Beijing. Saudi Arabia and Iran last week announced a surprise deal to resume diplomatic ties brokered by China.

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Dinner, Business Talks Follow Summit

According to Kishida’s office, Kishida and Yun were to have dinner and informal talks after the summit. Media reports said Kishida would host a two-part dinner: “sukiyaki” beef stew in one restaurant, then “omu-rice” or rice with omelet – reportedly Yoon’s favorite dish – in another.

Yoon faces criticism at home from those who say he has compromised too much, and rallies protesting the deal in Seoul have been attended by a few dozen people.

Following his arrival on Thursday, Yoon attended a reception hosted by the Korean Residents’ Union in Japan. Hundreds of thousands of ethnic Korean residents of Japan, many of them descendants of those forcibly brought there during the war, are calling for better relations as ties affect their lives.

On Thursday, Keidanren, or the Japan Business Federation, a powerful Japanese business lobby, also announced that it and its South Korean counterpart have agreed to set up private funds for bilateral projects such as youth exchanges. Keidenren said they aim to start with $752,420 in funding.

A dozen business leaders traveling with Yun will meet their Japanese counterparts on Friday.

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