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Korea, Japan to declare new partnership at summit talks

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Unswerving cyclist
14 Mar 2002
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That's good news! Reported by the Korea Herald, June 28, 2002:

Korea, Japan to declare new partnership at summit talks

South Korea and Japan plan to declare a new partnership on the occasion of their successful co-hosting of the World Cup finals at the end of their summit talks in Tokyo on Monday, Seoul officials said yesterday.

They also said President Kim Dae-jung and Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi will discuss the issue of North Korean defectors, which flared up following a series of North Korean asylum bids made through foreign missions in China.

"The two leaders are considering announcing their resolve to further develop bilateral relations in a written statement," said a senior Foreign Ministry official, speaking on condition of anonymity.

But presidential officials said the brief joint declaration will neither include concrete programs to develop bilateral ties, nor mention controversial problems between the two countries in the past.

South Korea and Japan adopted a landmark joint declaration on a partnership for the 21st century during summit talks between Kim and then Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi in 1998. The agreement included Japan's first written apology for its 35-year colonial rule of Korea and an action plan of detailed cooperative programs.

But relations between the two countries deteriorated last year due to a row over Japanese history textbooks, criticized for whitewashing Japan's wartime atrocities in neighboring countries, and Koizumi's visit to Tokyo's Yasukuni Shrine, which Korea sees as a symbol of the country's imperialist past.

Kim and Koizumi agreed to work together to put bilateral relations back on track during the Japanese leader's last visit to Seoul in March.

Seoul officials believe that the successful co-hosting of the World Cup games and Japanese people's enthusiastic support for the Korean national team's surprise performance has helped ease anti-sentiment against Japan among Koreans.

In the upcoming talks, the officials said, Kim and Koizumi will discuss economic cooperation and North Korea policies, and evaluate the implementation of last year's summit agreements on seven pending issues, including Japan's controversial history textbooks.

In particular, Kim will explain to Koizumi the South Korean government's position in connection with handling North Korean asylum seekers, the officials said.

The South Korean government's position is that Seoul accepts all North Korean defectors wishing to resettle in the South and opposes any repatriation of them to the North against their will.

A recent series of North Korean defectors' sheltering in South Korean, Japanese and other foreign missions in China has sparked diplomatic rows between Seoul and Beijing and between Beijing and Tokyo.

([email protected])

By Shin Yong-bae Staff reporter

Copyright © The Korea Herald
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Emperor likely to visit S Korea

Bilateral relations seem to take a positive turn:

Emperor likely to visit S Korea

=> http://www.japantoday.com/e/?content=news&cat=1&id=221193

Yesterday, President Kim Dae Jung and the Tenno watched the soccer finals together in Yokohama. Kim seemed to be very stiff and formal, I'd really be interested in their conversation.
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