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Japanese PM, S. Korea president-elect agree to improve ties


Unswerving cyclist
14 Mar 2002
There is still good news out there, and this looks auspicious: PM Kishida and South Korea's President-elect Yoon Suk-yeol agreed to improve ties. It was about time the two countries worked on their relationship.


Japan's Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and South Korea's president-elect Yoon Suk Yeol talked on the phone Friday, agreeing to cooperate toward improving their countries' ties, signaling a thaw in their icy relations strained by wartime history disputes.

In Seoul's presidential race, Yoon Suk Yeol was generally viewed as the candidate with a more pragmatic approach towards Japan.

On the other hand, Yoon Suk-yeol barely mentions any historical issues from before Korea's liberation from Japan. He called the normalization of diplomatic relations between Korea and Japan, dubbed the 1965 system, "a starting point for a good neighbor friendship and co-prosperity." Regarding the relationship between the two countries, he views it as one "sharing liberal democracy and human rights." Yoon does not put forth any conditions on past issues. He said, "We need to put the issues of forced labor, comfort women, security cooperation and economic trade on one table and approach it in a grand bargain way." Yoon said he would first start a dialogue with Japan if elected. "Even if it is a difficult issue, we can overcome the past if we find a point of contact and implement it together," he said.

Makes me think of when Trump tried to be buddies with Russia and make relations between the US & Russia better. Things did not go well with that idea so it will be interesting to see how this goes.
It looks as if Japan will be enjoying better relations with the new South Korean government. The incoming foreign minister calls the bilateral 'comfort women' pact of 2015 official.

Yesterday, a South Korean delegation sent by President-elect Yoon Suk-yeol paid a courtesy visit to PM Kishida. The bilateral relations between Japan and South Korea haven't looked that promising in years. Hopefully a lasting trend.


"Given that the rules-based international order is threatened, strategic cooperation between Japan and South Korea, as well as Japan, the United States and South Korea is needed more than ever," Kishida said, adding, "We have no time to spare in improving Japan-South Korea relations." His remarks came as Russia's invasion of Ukraine continues, while Kishida and Yoon are also facing neighboring challenges, including China's growing assertiveness and North Korea's nuclear and missile threats. Kishida added, "We need to resolve issues lying between Japan and South Korea" including the wartime labor of Koreans, which has been a major sticking point.

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