Moon urges efforts to improve S. Korea-Japan ties

Georgia Reed
April 13, 2018

The hugely emotional matter of Korean women forced into sexual slavery for Japanese troops during World War II has soured ties between the South and Japan for years.

She continued, "However, at the current stage, aside from the three general agenda items of denuclearization, establishment of peace and advancing of inter-Korean relations, we do not know what kind of detailed agenda will be put on the table at the summit".

They also reaffirmed close cooperation among them and the U.S. to maintain maximum pressure on the North to achieve complete, verifiable and irreversible abandonment of its nuclear and ballistic missile programs.

The issue of Japanese nationals abducted by North Korea remains highly critical for Japan.

He continued to stress the Japanese position that maximum pressure needed to be maintained against Pyongyang to force it to abandon its nuclear weapon and ballistic missile programs.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is scheduled to hold a summit with U.S. President Donald Trump next week.

Some issues, Baik said, are left to be discussed between working-level officials of the two Koreas regarding protocol, security and media coverage for the summit as well as the establishment of hotline between ROK President Moon Jae-in and top DPRK leader Kim Jong Un.

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And Trump has said that a U.S. "And in my conversations with North Koreans over the years, it is clear that the United States has to take a number of steps first, such as ending the alliance with South Korea, removing all of its military troops off the Korean Peninsula".

The appointment this week of Mr Bolton - a former United Nations ambassador and strong defender of a U.S. first-strike option against North Korea - has raised concerns in Seoul over the prospects of the diplomatic thaw on the Korean peninsula.

With no meeting of the minds on the abduction issue, other contentious issues between Japan and South Korea also only led to a reiteration of past stances by both sides.

Kono's trip marked the first of its kind by a Japanese foreign minister since December 2015.

Kono expressed his respect for what he called Moon's personal efforts to realize the upcoming summits with the reclusive North Korean leader. Kono also paid a courtesy call to Moon at the Blue House that afternoon.

Moon said last month that Japan cannot unilaterally declare the wartime issue "over", while Japan says any attempt to modify or scrap the deal, signed by Moon's predecessor Park Geun-Hye, could hurt relations. Despite facing challenges on historical and territorial issues, Kang emphasized cooperation in economics, culture and people-to-people exchanges.

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